In addition to my professional development and consulting, I spend a lot of time working with local schools to bring better programming options to kids. I'm a huge STEM advocate, and I believe in doing what I can to make things happen rather than just complaining about it. Considering how difficult it can be to get funding for music, languages, and the arts, it just seems like the community needs to be as supportive as possible to bring better opportunities to schools. Since I was interested in programming as early as the fifth grade, I want to see that kids can learn about technology when they are interested.
Perhaps, not surprisingly, my involvement has paralleled the development of my own children. Back in Iowa, I led a technology club centered on LEGO Mindstorms NXT for students in K-6. After moving to Oregon, I got involved in a local middle school to start a programming/technology club for 6-8th graders. Since my older son is in high school, I started a programming/technology club there as well. I love supporting kids as they explore the advanced concepts that many kids (and adults) take for granted. By getting involved with them in school, they are more likely to discover a field they didn't even know they had an interest in. This is one way to prepare young adults for a technology-oriented work force.
From time to time I've blogged on new software and hardware that I'm only aware of because of this work. I've decided to start blogging more often to explore the software, hardware, contests, and related topics available to K-12 students, educators, and involved parents. Follow these posts with the "k12" tag!