Why does this Programmer Enjoy Learning from Teachers?

Teacher helping student

While I work as a professional software engineer and scrum master, I have become passionate about creating environments of learning and becoming better as a teacher. While some of my geek or software buddies believe that I’m weird, I believe that my internal drive to learn more about education and learning is meaningful. For our readers, I wanted to share a few quick reflections regarding the impact of my study of great teachers and leaders.

1. My wife is a teacher: My wife Dr. Sarah Rosario works as a college professor teaching biology and microbiology.    At the Rosario dinner table, it’s common for us to share the high and low points of our day.    It’s really hard for us to avoid the topic of education since Sarah is growing young minds in college daily.   It’s great to hear Sarah connect with her students and help them grow.   It’s difficult to hear the times that her students let her down.   Sarah works REALLY hard to grow her students and create success for her students.  I guess… I study education technology and learning to help support my wife in her career.

2.  I’m a Dad. Teaching is my job: We have wonderful kids.   We have been blessed with good teachers in our schools so far.   As I study blogs on educational technology,  I am often reminded of my core responsibility to be a teacher to my kids.   As I have studied the book “Invent to Learn”, Makers movement in education, and project based learning, it has been fun to apply some of these ideas with my family.   Sarah is really good at getting the family to be outside and connect with learning in nature.   As parents, we are trying to grow as teachers.

3. Teaching gives me joy:  It’s one thing to write a cool piece of software and get it working.   It’s completely AWESOME when I see my team members growing, learning, and succeeding in writing well crafted software or using Scrum.    It’s cool to see junior team members take small “nuggets” of programming techniques I’ve taught them and see them teaching others.  Teaching creates more teachers.

4. Learning creates change: During a financial peace class, my wife and I got this precious tip from Dave Ramsey: Do business with people who have the “heart of a teacher.”   For some reason, that advice really stuck with me.   That phrase inspired me to make teaching a central strategy for growing success for my team and our communities.   It has been fun to coordinate a small professional learning group at work to help us become more innovative and serve our communities more.
( Check out this blog post on the book club) We are discovering that excellence in learning leads to excellence in culture.

5. Technology does not guarantee learning: In agile culture, we have a wonderful phrase: “People are more important than processes and tools.”   As I have studied teachers adopting educational technology, this insight is very clear and repeated.    Even if you give your students the best mobile devices and apps, I does not mean that your students will grow and learn.    It has been fun to study how great teachers plan,  give selflessly, organize games, and environments where students can have personalized learning and coach their students to move forward.

6. Machine Learning:  One of my hero’s from the machine learning research community is Sebastian Thrun.   His research team at Stanford won the DARPA grand challenge for driving an autonomous car across a desert maze.   This was an amazing scientific achievement in computer science.   I’ve noticed that people who love machine learning also love human learning.   Mr. Thrun has been a key leader in building UDacity , a start-up seeking to democratize higher education.     I love machine learning as well.  I think it has been important for me to study the learning of children to help focus my thinking in machine learning research.

7.  I am thankful:  I have been VERY blessed by my parents and my teachers.    The blessing of great education from my teachers and parents is a debt that I can never repay.   I hope that the small little lessons that I share on InspiredToEducate.NET help me pay forward the gifts given to me.   Perhaps a small lesson in leadership might transform a business.   Perhaps a young adult discovers a new career direction by learning how to code.   Perhaps a teacher discovers a new way to engage his or her students in learning how to learn by learning to program.

How can I help you?

The Wall Street Journal recently wrote a piece “Who Needs to Know How to Code.”  The article describes some of the benefits for kids and business executives to learn how to code.   While every business leader or kid does not need to become a developer like me, the article suggests that all people benefit from learning the thinking styles connected to coding: critical thinking, experimentation, tinkering, technical communication, etc.   By design, I would like this blog to serve anyone who wants to learn to code, design, and make.

I would like your help to focus the content of our blog.

  • What topics in code or maker education would serve your students?  What would help you as a teacher?  What would help you as a parent?  
  • What topics in learning to code would help you take your career to the next level?

 

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