Ahhh, don’t you just love starting new projects!
That joy of coming up with an interesting idea, and then thinking through the steps for success. Being able to visualize the goals and intents of the project, as well as the challenges and pitfalls that are bound to happen.
Of course, implementation is always much harder.
I should probably back up and explain for all you who are not actually in IB. The CAS project, or the Community Action Service project, is a fundamental part of the International Baccalaureate programme, as one of the three core/additional parts, the other two being the Extended Essay and the Theory of Knowledge class, otherwise known as the Mountain of CasEETokia. Sorta like Mount Rainier for Washington state, or the Alps for France/Switzerland; you can’t consider yourself a true member of IB until you’ve conquered it.
These three projects/classes are intended for students to not only learn facts, which any dumbo can do with a good memory, but to be able to put into reality the direct application of new knowledge. Honestly, even though so many of my demographic despise these parts as just being painful add ons to our already hectic lives, I actually think that they are excellent, at least in idea. Along with the very focused writing section of IB, and the submission of many many lab reports/personal polished essays, I believe that this would actually be meaningful.
SO, for CAS, you need to pick out some kind of influential, global problem, and do your best to solve it. Even though there are many, perhaps much more pertinent projects (I REALLY support the anti-suicide project), I think that tackling the laziness that has grown up in our society is equally important.
Recently, there has been this evolution of technology to only show the user the aptly named “User-end” of applications, as seen by the ever-increasing focus on complete and total integration of technologies, perhaps best seen in Apple’s iPhone. Although I very much appreciate the iPhone and all of its capabilities, and adore the seamless melding of entertainment, it still stands that it conceals so much of the blood, sweat, and tears that programmers put into those little apps – and most importantly, the joy when they see something come to life.
More and more people are becoming addicted to their computers, but fewer and fewer posses that drive to find out more about what they are addicted to. Instead of fostering a generation of phone phreakers and the culture of hacking, we are sadly bringing about a generation who just want the end result of things.
Even though almost everyone is succumbing to the laziness of this societal mindset, I think that it is most pertinent to those in perhaps more disadvantaged households. Even while more and more people have smart phones and the internet, I see this general disinterest in taking things apart and messing with them.
And then came the Raspberry Pi.
It’s a complete devolution of technology, reducing the powerful compute to its most basic parts, resulting in a credit card-sized object that just begs to be tinkered with. The goal, as stated by Eben Upton, is to revitalize UK students into discovering the art of programming.
As a resident of Seattle, one of the world’s most tech-savvy cities, there may not be as much to do as perhaps a more rural or larger city, but the fact remains that the US is lagging behind other nations in CS education. I want to start a project, aimed at young students, to get them interested into Computer Science and see the joy of making something on their own. It is not a novel or new idea, but I think that it is interesting enough just to work.
It would be a lot of work to get it running, as we would need to first learn the Raspberry Pi ourselves, figure out how to coordinate it with the school board, and design some kind of curriculum, but this is something that I really feel strongly in. Computer Science should be a basic part of everyone’s education, regardless if they want to be a scientist or an artist when they grow up. CS itself is founded in the beautiful world of logic and reason, which really should be part of everybody’s life.
A side caveat to the project is for it not to remain static. After all, I am but one person, and there is no way that I could change anything on a large scale by myself. That’s why the very final step of my implementation is to train other, like-minded high school/college students, into adopting this project throughout high schools in the Puget Sound region. It would be wonderful to see everyone dive into this project, as either for Community Service, or just to look good on their transcripts. I’ll leave the interpretation up to them, but being able to spread this knowledge to a large community… that is what service is about.
So, that’s my strategy for this project! My greatest fear is that as time goes on, I’ll be more and more lagged behind in all of my things to do, and this will slowly fall by the wayside. However, I think that if I can get a group of equally motivated people, we would be able to keep each other accountable and always moving forward.
Attached is the little mini pitch I have been making on Facebook to my friends, trying to get the to join the project, as well as a more detailed list of the overarching scope of the whole deal. SO EXCITEEDFSOPIDHJFWS
Ninja Edit: This is my 50th post! That is about 500% more than my last floundering blog!