Something big happened this past week. A group of education and industry experts from around the world converged upon Chattanooga, TN for the WERock Summit. The goal of the Summit was to help a new W3C incubator group called the Open Web Education Alliance (OWEA) establish an organizational structure, and brainstorm methods from improving web education.
The Web is only about 5,000 days old, and as a young medium it’s not yet well established as a major discipline of study in most colleges, universities, and high schools around the world. Many of the schools that are teaching courses on Web topics aren’t yet adequately preparing their students for a career in the Web industry because technology moves faster than most education systems. It’s a serious threat to the sustainability of our medium, as no industry can sustain itself if it doesn’t master the art of cultivating new talent.
OWEA seeks to resolve this challenge by assembling a curriculum that teaches best practices and web standards then helping schools and accreditation bodies to incorporate it into existing programs. There are a lot of companies and organizations contributing to the mission including Opera, Adobe, Microsoft, The World Organization of Webmasters, The Web Standards Project, and AIGA to name a few.
MailChimp has a vested interest in the mission of OWEA, not only because it will make it easier to hire talented employees, but also because one of MailChimp’s own is involved in the project. As a the lead of The Web Standards Project’s open curriculum project called InterAct, I am a participating member of OWEA.
To help the organizers in Chattanooga get the word out about the WERock Summit and the public event at the Hunter Museum of Art called the WERock Tour, MailChimp donated an account with 100,000 credits so that thousands of influential people in the area including educators, industry professionals, the media, city councilmen, and even senators could be invited and kept abreast of things. The result was an amazing turnout of folks excited about OWEA‘s message of change in education.