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Teachers and Students at PyconUK 2013

I love my job. Designing and writing software (often using the Python programming language) is rewarding and fun. I work with thoughtful colleagues, collaborate with passionate free-software coders and I'm always learning something new (I also get to work with cool new technology). Software developers build our digital future.

Another group who help build the future are teachers. I was once a teacher, a secondary head of music, and tended to work in schools that are politely described as "challenging". It was the most difficult job I've ever done. I have nothing but utter respect for my former colleagues who continue to do an amazing job despite the well-meaning yet often frustrating bureaucracy that is the UK's education system.

And so we come to the most important group relating to the future: students. I believe education should inspire a passion for learning that leads students to autonomy: dedicating themselves to a life of their own making. As Plutarch famously observed,

"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."

On the 21st and 22nd of September we hope to bring these three groups together for this year's community organised PyconUK conference, held in Coventry. Why? Because we believe interesting things happen when diverse groups of motivated people work together. We expect many programming fires to be kindled as a result.

There is a special teacher's track on Saturday 21st that includes talks and workshops about teaching with the Python programming language. There will also be opportunities to collaborate with some of the UK's top Python developers to create educational resources and share programming ideas. Last year's event was lots of fun and we expect this year's event to be just as fruitful for both teachers and developers alike.

On Sunday 22nd we're holding a Raspberry Jam for up to 40 kids to learn about and have fun with Python, Raspberry Pi, programming Minecraft and Arduino microcontrollers. This will be a first for PyconUK but we're being helped by the intergalactic Raspberry Jambassador himself, Alan O'Donohoe (he is, truly, out of this world).

If you're a teacher and would like to attend you have two choices:

  1. A single day-ticket for the Saturday teacher's track priced at only £35 (including lunch).
  2. A discounted full conference ticket priced at £111.95 (includes the Saturday evening conference dinner and attendance for the whole conference Friday-Monday).

If you're a student, group organiser or would like to bring your own kids along to Sunday's Raspberry Jam then the price is only £5 per child with adults attending at no cost.

To book tickets simply visit the booking page and use the promotional code MORTAR_BOARD for the teacher's tickets or SCOLARIS_PYTHONIS for the Raspberry Jam.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

I look forward to seeing you there to kindle some fires..!