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Drumbeat: free web school for web developers


Ken Robinson is a revolutionary speaker. He has been going on for years about the bad state of education in today’s world. The system needs to change, he keeps saying. In the web development community, Anna Debenhem shares a similar sentiment. Over at Drumbeat, she gave an inspiring keynote:

Anna Debenham at Drumbeat Barcelona from Alex Halavais on Vimeo.

The biggest point to take away from it is that the current education system is not suited for the modern world. The syllabus lags behind time, the teachers are usually less knowledgeable than the students and the teaching starts too late. Most web developers end up learning themselves.


That is where Mozilla steps in. It has started a project called Drumbeat, in association with Peer to Peer University.

We want to spark a movement. We want to keep the web open for the next 100 years.

Drumbeat: School of Webcraft is, in essence, a free web school held for web developers by other web developers. By visiting the Drumbeat website, people can choose to submit a course proposal or register for a course (registrations will be open on January 8, 2011). Those who submit courses can either conduct them themselves or let other professionals conduct them. Either ways, you have professional web developers teaching others. The course can be conducted in any way one wishes. It can be done using video, slideshows or through tasks.

There will also be video conferences held where learners can interact with the course master and ask questions.

How is this different from school?

There are countless problems associated with learning in school, or via a separate course. A separate course, of course, is pretty expensive. Besides, there is no clear standardization of courses, so every institute has its own unique mix of teaching material. In school, you have to wait till you are of a certain age to learn something. Even then, the learning process is very slow, as the school goes at the pace of the slowest learner. There is little scope for someone really talented to jump ahead and do something more worthwhile. Besides, the course is updated so less frequently that it is behind the real world. The ICT Specification, for example, says that tables should be used for alignment on webpages. And it still cites Powerpoint and Word as good examples of web development tools!

With Drumbeat, you are being taught what is in use today, rather than a few years ago. This is the same group of people who are involved behind projects like Firefox and Thunderbird. What you get is world-class teaching with the best course material available, absolutely free! The courses will be six to ten weeks long.

Anyone interested in learning the latest web technology can register for a course(s). However, considering the popularity of the project, not everyone gets accepted. People can also submit ideas for courses. For more details, check out the FAQs on Drumbeat. We would recommend you join their Google Group, and do Ken Robinson proud!

Looking forward to 2011: Mobile Computing

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