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Developers’ Club: A one-stop shop for technology education

By Emily Peed

Source: http://developersclubonline.com/

Developers' Club LLC  was created to be a one-stop shop for technology education. This will be done through free accessed resources, deployable after-school programs, and by donating resources to open source. The website functions by providing source code downloads, video downloads, and structured learning content that works with a modular tutorial series. The goal of the site is to cover a variety of software and hardware subjects over the next five years to help ease the learning process for school classrooms, facilitate after- school programs, and also support individuals interested in learning these skills. Currently, there is a focus on making a software tutorial series, with major releases to the content and the after-school programs in the news few months. However, we plan to expand to the hardware domain.

The only downside is production of the hardware aspects of the tutorial series is financially intensive. This project is in need of a new recording space; we need to collect the necessary materials to create prototypes of hardware kits and the educational desk; and there is also the matter of financing for conference attendance to gain more corporate support, purchasing office equipment, webhosting fees, and salaries.

The goals for this campaign is to create 10 new hardware kits that utilize the Raspberry Pi and  3-D printed hardware case, help to aid the production of tutorial series and learning content that is free to download to guide people on how to assemble these kits, the creation of an educational desk to help self automate the learning process, and provide cutting-edge resources for Developers' Club after-school programs in latter 2016.

These kits include a solar charger for USB devices, a hand-held gaming device, security diary, MP3 style device, machine gardener, E-Melody box, solar charging cell phone case, touch screen tablet, a helicopter pig, and a weather station. The different kits would be utilized in our clean computing, Developers’ Club, and IT Girls 2.0 programs.

The educational desk is part of Developers' Club overall mission to help level the playing field for education. We are actively working to partner with other organizations, platforms, and businesses that have the same goals. The prototyping of the desk over the next year and a  half means it will be on a slower release schedule than the hardware kits, tutorial series, and learning content. Once these initial start-up supplies are obtained, this platform will be able to create many more kits than just the 10 presented. Available in the “About Us” section at the bottom of the Developers' Club site is a PDF file entitled “Tutorial series and prototype detailed 5 year plan,” which describes the hardware kits, tutorial series, and major program development goals for the educational desk over the next few years. These goals may have to change with time but the website will keep current release dates  at the bottom of the page.

The initial target market for the after-school programs are students from 7th to 12th grade. With the expansion to K-6 in 2016. Developers' Club is also affiliated with some students at Purdue University who are opening a STEM Center in Ghana, Africa and will be able to provide educational resources there.

For now, our primary focus is on creating after-school programs that are unique and fun, while also allowing the resources to be used in classroom by schools and, generally, individuals. Students in the classroom and in after-school settings will critique the content and we will improve it based on the reviews of the students, teachers, and individuals who use it. Many schools within the United States struggle to teach technology properly. With already over-strained budgets, hiring a technology instructor can be expensive. An in-depth understanding of programming and computing is not a requirement by current teaching standards. and when teaching occurs it is done by some teachers who have little to no programming experience.

By creating these modular series with learning content we foresee this project being able to alleviate some of the pressure on schools.  Materials could be contracted and expanded to fit the needs of classrooms, after-school programs, and individuals interesting in learning.

We currently have an issue in technology where we don’t have enough capable individuals. With technology becoming more ever reaching—as it makes its way into our cars, wearables, and every facet of our lives—we are going to see this need grow larger. As emerging economies worldwide develop and we see the greater rates of adoption in technology this need for high-quality, creative, competent professionals will grow. We will need more than someone who is able to slam code out, we will need individuals who can think creatively in this field. Offering a website that has free access to a multitude of resources, facilitates materials for after-school programs, and makes learning technology more accessible and easier is simply one of the steps we need to take.

Kickstarter Campaign Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/devclub/developers-club-open-source-educational-initiative

  


About The Author

Emily Peed is an undergraduate student and an entrepreneur who is a regular panelist at DEF CON. She has a strong interest in creating open-source technologies, educational technologies, and pushing a movement of a cleaner form of computing. She is creating a resource platform at http://developersclubonline.com/, which is actively seeking volunteers, sponsorship opportunities, and a chance to deploy a variety of technology based after-school programs to increase interests and participation rates in technology.