Brent Beer from GitHub talked to us after lunch about Collaborative Teaching for More Effective Learning. As we know budgets are shrinking – everywhere – but in particular in education. So what are we doing in schools to get more bang for our buck? One option is to start using open source software to lower overhead costs. There are also tools out there that are specific for schools with shrinking budgets. GitHub has accounts for schools for example.
More importantly, how do we collaborate and communicate effectively with students – specifically in our computer programming classes? There are tools like Moodle and Blackboard in schools, but they aren’t really terrible friendly to educators who might want to set them up. So you need to hire people or a company to help you set up and maintain the system. That requires money which you might not have. Also, even though those tools have communication areas they’re separate from the assignments. We need one place to go where all the assignments and the communication can happen.
Specifically for these computer programming classes, GitHub allows you to have your code in your repository and then allow communication right there through comments. It also facilitates collaboration and introduces students to open source development by having their repository open to their entire class.
GitHub would also be great for keeping your notes and programs for classes organized as a teacher. This way you can track changes to your own work, share work with other teachers, and get comments and collaboration from other instructors who might know how to solve the problem you’re sharing more efficiently or differently. You could also use GitHub as a social network to find other teachers who are out there teaching the same things.
One example of a school doing this Tufts.