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Portland Java User Group: Teaching Girls and Boys to Program Computers

Oracle (Downtown Campus)
1211 SW 5th Avenue, Suite 800, Room 8005
Portland, Oregon 97204, US (map)



This month's topic: Teaching Girls and Boys to Program Computers

Why is it that the percentage of women graduating with computer science degrees around 50% in countries like Sweden, China and India, but less than 20% in America? As a "Geekdad" with a daughter, I found this unacceptable, and decided to do something about it... I went back to school... elementary school that is, to teach programming to the kids. My goal was to find an environment and a style that would encourage girls with curiosity to enjoy being controlling computers in creative ways, and in the process, encourage and involve every kid.

My talk discusses the journey of coming up with a girl-friendly curriculum for teaching programming that boys wouldn't notice anything different. I then show off some of the new crop of "Integrated Learning Environments", i.e. Alice, E-Toys and Scratch. I finally give an overview of my "Computer Club" and how others can use what I've done to teach others.

Speaker: Howard Abrams

My first job in high school was teaching Basic and Logo programming to 8 year old kids; however, I haven't taught since graduating from college. After programming for 25 years (and Java for 12), I'm now intrigue about returning to my roots and working with the next generation.

PJUG meetings start with some time to eat and socialize (pizza and beverages are provided), followed by the featured speaker, then Q&A, discussion, sometimes a drawing to give away swag. :)

Though we like knowing how many people to expect, you don't have to RSVP, on Upcoming or otherwise. Go ahead and just show up!

Many people also go for a drink and further discussion following the meeting, usually at McMenamin's Market Street Pub at 10th and Market: http://www.mcmenamins.com/328 (but sometimes this changes).

http://twitter.com/pjug http://pjug.org/ (join our mailing list, linked from the website!) http://bit.ly/pjuglive (live streaming video, plus archived videos from past meetings)