Workshop, check.

July 25, 2012

Lloyd, School

I left Lauren on Monday to go to a computer workshop. The workshop was at the University of Nebraska (Lincoln), which is only about 30 minutes from our house, but they were offering free room and board, and I didn’t want to be rude by not accepting their kind offer. Besides, you usually learn all sorts of interesting things when people just sit around and talk after the day is over.

The conference was about tricking attracting women and minorities into taking computer science classes. At this point it is probably good to note that “computer science classes” means something different to computer science people than it does to the general public. Computer science people do not consider classes that teach you how to use a computer to be computer science classes, so anything that teaches you to use word processors, spreadsheets and databases (or basically any other software) or make things like websites, presentations, videos and photos/graphics is right out. So we’re essentially talking about getting people to take programming classes*.

My room

So we learned things like: there are a whole lot more computer science jobs right now than people to fill them, that these jobs tend to pay well above average and are rated quite highly by the people who go around rating jobs. They gave us a lot of ammunition like this to shoot at people in order to get them to see if this computer science thing is something that they might like to spend the rest of their life doing.

Then they told us lots of reasons why lots of the stuff that we were doing to attract those geeky boys to our classes was driving (nearly) all of the girls away from the classes, and that we should stop doing that, because (a) the geeky boys would come anyway and (b) we can’t really get by with less than half of the people who could think about computer science as a job option completely ignoring it.

It was interesting. I learned a lot of stuff. I got to stay in a dorm again and eat cafeteria  food and they paid me to do it.





*There’s more to computer science than programming, but programming is the gateway drug to the rest of computer science, and so effectively the only type of computer science class that gets taught in most high schools.

About Lloyd

Lloyd Sommerer is a middle/high school teacher who likes to build websites, read books, grow beards, make fun of Lauren’s prototypes and eat the sauce of the picante.

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6 Responses to “Workshop, check.”

  1. Brad Said on:

    Dorm rooms and cafeteria food? Well now you’ve got me interested anyway. Except computer programming always seemed to be some kind of voodoo magic that I thought I could never learn. Maybe I should take a class. Wait… I’m not a woman or a minority. Is that okay?


  2. Lauren Said on:

    I totally would have gone into computer programming had Lloyd not insulted my beginner’s program in college. I asked for help (this was before we were dating) and he just sat there and said, “Look at it. LOOK at it. LOOK at it.” I could barely see my turtle program through the brimming tears.

    True story.

    Well, most of it.


    • Peggy Said on:

      You should have reminded Lloyd that not everyone speaks goobledygook!

      And you need to apologize Lloyd.


    • Lloyd Said on:

      It was entirely my fault. I completely misunderstood what was being requested of me. I thought I was being asked to show someone how to figure out what was wrong with a program. I was actually being asked to,”Just do it already, because it’s a waste of time to have elementary ed majors write a couple of programs anyway.”


  3. Deborah Said on:

    I also find it very helpful when people give instructions by saying the same unintelligible thing louder, and LOUDER!


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