An extra reason for you to head south this July!

July is probably the most important month in the CSTA agenda: it is the time of year when computer science teachers from all over the world join to exchange ideas and practices while attending the premier professional development event tailored specifically to their needs.

This year, the CSTA Annual Conference will take place from July 12th to 14th in Grapevine, Texas; the lineup of workshops and presentations is so stimulating that many of us will have a hard time choosing which concurrent session to attend! But this year there’s an extra reason to head south, that many attendees may not be aware of: it so happens that this year the Annual Conference of Wikimedia* enthusiasts from all over the world will be held from July 15th to 19th in Mexico City, Mexico.

The conference is aptly named “Wikimania”: ask any long-time Wikimedia editor why and she’ll talk passionately about the values of the largest crowd-sourcing community in the world. I, for one, have been a Wikimedia editor since 2007 and most of my edits have been made in the context of school projects involving students of all ages in Grades 7-12. Over the course of nine school years to date, my classes have gained skills, knowledge, appreciation for teamwork and pride in contributing to five of the total fifteen Wikimedia projects in two different languages; it’s been an absolutely priceless experience, and every year it just gets better.

The Wikimania conference is annually held in a different place in the world since 2005.The conference program encompasses a number of tracks, which means there is always something fascinating going on no matter what your interests are: this year the first two days (15th-16th) will host a Hackathon (or DevCamp), followed by three days of workshops, presentations, quick meetings and much, much more. The tracks that educators will  be most interested in are, no doubt, Education and GLAM (that’s Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums)… and of course, computer science teachers and enthusiasts will be sure to enjoy the hackathon.

Each year the Wikimedia Foundation awards around 100 Wikimania scholarships to active members of the worldwide Wikimedia community to cover travel and accommodation expenses; I am proud to be one of the two Greek Wikimedians who earned a scholarship this year. So, why not join me as I head further South after Texas this July?

All in all, an exciting week of professional development, hacking, learning and sharing (not to mention, tequila parties!) lies ahead this summer… hope to see you in Texas and Mexico:)

More information about registration here (link should be active in a matter of days)… or just drop me a line and I’ll be glad to assist.

Read this post for more about how integrating Wikimedia projects into your classroom can enrich your students’ learning experience.

*Wikimedia is the “umbrella” Foundation for Wikipedia and it’s 15 sister projects.

Mina Theofilatou
CSTA International Representative
Kefalonia, Greece

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