Join Focus on Change in Education and Esolution

Sunday, October 21, 2012

You write your own destiny (if you can afford a computer and internet acces)

Read the original report at Design & Dev on TNW ...

Whether you are looking to switch careers and become a full-time programmer, want to try to build a website or app on the side, or are just looking to round out your skill set, learning to code has certainly been something a lot of people have started to do lately. And while being a programmer might not be for everyone, there is a lot to be said about gaining a better, more educated view of how all those pixels get moved around all those screens.
Before we delve into our list of learning resources sites, we wanted to share some advice from Marissa Louie, a self-taught product designer for Ness Computing. A former startup founder, Louie told TNW that the hardest part of being self-taught – whether it’s design, programming, or any other discipline is, “gathering the courage. The most important barrier is just to overcome your fears” (she also said having the ability to follow instructions helps as well).
Louie said that once you attain the basic skills, the best thing to do is just jump in and try to give yourself custom tasks, and build experience on your own through lots of trial and error.
So with that sound advice in mind, let’s move to our in-no-particular-order list of learning resources (if you have more suggestions, PLEASE list them in the comments!).

1. MIT Open Courseware

logo ocw home new So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
MIT’s Open Courseware offers 2100 courses in a variety of topics, including Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The free resources include online textbooks, exams, multimedia content, assignments and projects and examples – all from actual MIT courses from the last decade or so.

2. Coursera

Coursera launched in April and already has hit the 1 million student mark, and has expanded to include 0ver 200 courses from 33 universities. If you haven’t heard of Coursera, it is the Stanford-learning-idea-turned-mega-startup that basically lets you take a full university course online taught by a real professor at one of the world’s best schools – for free

3. Udacity

Udacity 21st Century University1 520x170 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online

Udacity is a free service currently with 14 classes where, “You learn by solving challenging problems… with world-renowned university instructors.” The classes cover topics that seemed geared to not only teaching you to code, but also giving you a solid grounding in math, physics and even, “How to Build a Startup”.

4. Google Code University

Google Code University Google Code 520x93 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
It’s Google and it’s code, so yeah, it’s a pretty solid free resource, and obviously a good one if you are interested in Android development. Has some more advanced topics as well including distributed systems and web security.

5. Mozilla Developer Network

Learn How to Make Websites MDN 520x201 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
Mozilla knows a thing or two about what makes a good website run, and it’s put together a free learning center that includes work written by the the network and also by other sites, like…

6. HTML5 Rocks

Just in case you were wondering, it kind of does. The site has a lot of free info on HTML5, including blog posts, and tutorials.

7. The Code Player

Learn HTML5 CSS3 Javascript video style tutorials TheCodePlayer 520x217 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
The Code Player is a great way to get a real sense of the ebbs and flows of coding (while learning stuff too). It’s kind of like being able to look over the shoulder of a programmer while she works.

8. Codecademy

Learn to code Codecademy 520x220 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
Codecademy was made extra famous at the beginning of this year when NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg tweeted out that he was going to use the site to learn to code in 2012 (wonder how he’s doing?). Regardless, Codecademy is a popular and free site that adds gamification to the learning process if you want to learn with friends. Codecademy also runs CodeYear.

9. Khan Academy

Another “academy”, Khan Academy offers lots of courses beyond programming if you are looking to be a Renaissance man/woman – but if you’re just looking to code, it has that too.

10. General Assembly

Education General Assembly 520x123 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
General Assembly takes a different approach by offering livestream (paid) sessions on topics like “Rapid Prototyping: From Wireframes to HMTL” – you buy an e-ticket on Eventbrite, get a password, and tune into the livestream when it happens.

11. PeepCode

PeepCode Programming and Development Tutorial Screencasts for Web Developers and Alpha Geeks 520x220 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
PeepCode covers a lot of programming languages, providing downloadable (paid) screencast lessons.

12. Eloquent JavaScript

ejs1 220x290 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
Eloquent JavaScript is actually a book that is completely online for free (or you can buy the ebook on Amazon). From the author’s intro: “JavaScript is the language that is, at the moment, mostly being used to do all kinds of clever and horrible things with pages on the World Wide Web.”

13. Ruby Koans

If learning Ruby (and this is Ruby, not Ruby-on-Rails) is what you’re looking for, Ruby Koans has a free tutorial, promising to “walk you along the path to enlightenment in order to learn Ruby.”

14. Learn Code The Hard Way

Learn Code The Hard Way started with the book (free online) Learn Python The Hard Way and has branched to add other languages including Ruby and C.

15. Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow 220x70 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
While it technically doesn’t have “tutorials” there is a ton of (easily searchable) info on Stack Overflow that can be of great help once you get going. Also, if you ever get stuck on something (and the answer isn’t already there) the community is very good at answering questions.

16. Coder Dojo

Coder Dojos are places were young people can get together to learn to code, so if you’re a parent that’s thinking of setting your kid on the Path to Instagramum, you might want to see if there is one in your area. The site also has a knowledge baseput together by  its instructors/volunteers, but it is relatively limited.

17. O’Reilly

OST Logo 220x44 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
Beyond the many many books that O’Reilly publishes, the company also offers (paid) online courses on many different programming languages.

18. Scratch

Scratch Home imagine program share 220x69 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
Again, if you are a parent, Scratch is a free downloadable program developed by the MIT Media Lab that helps young kids build interactive stories.

19. Apple Developer

If you’re interested in developing for Apple products, it’s a great idea to head over to to Apple’s developer site to see what all the fuss is about and learn from the resources Apple has made available online.

20. Android Developer

dac logo So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
Google’s Android developer site continues to improve, and includes videos from Google i/o as well as section that goes over best practices for designing apps.

21. Mobiletuts+

tuts 520x173 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
Mobiletuts+ has free tutorials/blog posts on Android and iOS as well as other mobile-centric needs such as design and also has a premium (paid) service as well.

22. Udemy

Online Courses from the Worlds Experts Udemy 520x304 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
Udemy offers courses (some free, some paid) on a wide range of subjects, and boasts instructors including Mark Zuckerberg and Marissa Mayer.

23. Code School

Courses Code School 520x123 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
Code School offers courses and screencasts for a monthly no-contract subscription, and also has a few free courses as well.

24. Bloc

Bloc Online iOS Rails and Design Courses 520x199 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
Bloc promises to teach you to “become a web developer in 12 weeks.” For a hefty fee, Bloc will team you with a programmer mentor that acts like a personal fitness trainer throughout your learning. For the price tag, it probably makes sense to make this your full-time job for three months if you go this route.

25. Treehouse

Learn Web Design Web Development More Treehouse 220x137 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
Treehouse has over 600 videos that you can watch for a monthly fee, as well as a premium subscription that offers more features.

26. Programr

Programr takes a different line to learning code: you build stuff until it works. Check out our in-depth interview with Programr creator Rajesh Moorjani.

27. Processing

processing cover 220x35 So you want to be a programmer, huh? Here are 27 ways to learn online
While it has taken on an open source life of its own for visuals, Processing started out as a way for people to learn programming (in fact, Programr above has integrated it as well).
Well, hopefully this list will get you started in the right direction towards achieving your coding goals, but we’ll leave you with one more word of advice from Marissa Louie to give you a kickstart: “Don’t settle for anything less than exceptional.”
Image Credit: Martin Oeser/Getty Images
Note: This post was updated to include MIT OCW, Coursera and Udacity – if you have others you think should make the list, please let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Real Time with Bill Maher - The Dreyfuss Initiative - Civics in America

The Chicago Teacher's Union VS. Rahm Emanuel

Exposing the failure of our public school system is ugly. What is happening in Chicago right now will continue to happen across the country.

Chicago has a history of high dropout rates, with around half of students failing to graduate for the past 30 years. Criticism is directed at the CPS for inflating its performance figures. Through such techniques as counting students who swap schools before dropping out as transfers but not dropouts, it publishes graduation claims as high as 71%. Nonetheless, throughout the 1990s actual rates seem to have improved slightly, as true graduation estimates rose from 48% in 1991 to 54% in 2004.
The strike began Sept. 10 when more than 26,000 teachers walked out from their schools, leaving 350,000 kids with a day off. Part of the cause of this strike could be attributed to a teacher evaluation system based on standardized test scores. Lewis said this could have caused 6,000 teachers to lose their jobs from, according to CNN. Mayor Emanuel’s office, the city of Chicago and school officials have questioned that job figure. The union has been offered a pay raise of 16 percent over four years, according to the Chicago Tribune. Chicago school board President David Vitale said these raises could cost the city $300-$400 million, and that Chicago can’t afford more concessions. “We have no more flexibility when it comes to finance,” Vitale said.
During the strike, Mayor Rahm Emanuel did himself considerable damage by provoking a mass walkout. The teachers didn't fare much better, because they looked more concerned about guaranteed employment than the fate of their students.
Stanford University scholar Eric Hanushek says research indicates that if the worst five to 10 percent of teachers were replaced with merely average ones, "the achievement of U.S. students would rise from below the developed country average to near the top if not at the top." Good enough teachers, it turns out, are good enough.

How broke is America, while we're giving out raises to teachers? Well in Cook County (Chicago) the Treasurer recently reported that the debt is $108 billion dollars. Most of that is for pensions for overpaid government employees. $108 billion dollars in one county, in one city. In particular, the Chicago school district faces a $700 million deficit. -

Still, everyone involved in the dispute emerged with an achievement to trumpet: Teachers said the strike sparked an important national conversation about school reform. Union activists said it helped inspire public employee unions that have been losing ground. Emanuel declared it a boon for students trapped in failing schools.
Thomas Hatch, a professor at Columbia University's Teachers College, said the strike focused attention on teacher evaluations and fears of closing neighborhood schools.

FRONTLINE: Dropout Nation

Not sure if it helps or hurts, but this documentary exposes the problems.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Who will teach the teacher?

An article from the Christian Science Monitor details their plan for teacher evaluation and correcting our ailing public school system. What do you think?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Graduation Rates Revealed

New national standards for High School Graduation Rates will likely cause big drops in reporting across the nation. Most districts publish fraudulent Graduation and Dropout rates that do not truly reflect the extent of the problem.

Under current federal laws, states are allowed to lump in students who complete special education programs, night school, the GED, and virtual high school programs along with those who earn a traditional high school diploma. After removing students who complete these so-called "alternative diploma" programs from that pool, Chris West, of Johns Hopkins University's Everyone Graduates Center, estimates that the official national graduation rates will likely dip between 5 percent and 10 percent next year.

More ...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Catfish Club: Higher Education

April 6th, 2012
Catfish Club of San Diego

Higher Education in California's Future

Dr. Constance M. Carroll
Chancellor, San Diego Community College District

Dr. Elliott Hirshman
President, San Diego State University

Dr. Marye Anne Fox
Chancellor, University of California San Diego

and moderated by
Dr. Carl Luna Political Analyst and Professor
San Diego Mesa College

Listen to the Audio with QuickTime:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Get inside your own head

The Power of Introverts
"Stop the calls for constant group work"
We need freedom, autonomy, and wilderness.
Perhaps in our need to sell ourselves and create minds with emotional intelligence to win friends and influence people, we have failed to develop our ability to work independently and study our-selves. Inter-persona understanding is as important as Intra-personal understanding.

If we are experts at working in groups of broken individuals, then we can not succeed. We need to work upon ourselves first.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Listen | StoryCorps

A few people try, and fewer still try again.
Listen | StoryCorps

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Justin Reich on How Free and Open Education Might Widen Digital Divides

60% of American Schools are cosidered Title-1 (i.e. at least 40% of their students qualify for free lunch because they don't meet Federal poverty level standards).
CK12 - Open access textbooks. What is "Academic Literacy", "Paradata"?
There are three learning 'skills' that students can learn from participating in an online wiki:

Expert thinking

New Media Literacy

Complex communicating and collaboration

In this research of 200 public school wiki projects, only 2% used complex communicating and collaborations.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dr. Michio Kaku Says America Has An Achilles' Heel

Get rid of the H1 visa, and you will get high paying jobs for Americans, but we will lose our quality of life, because we lack the educational system to compete.
The way to fix the American educational system is through cooperation rather than competition.