Github’s open source tool allows teachers and students to create and share code

Software engineers can share, shape and work jointly on code through Github. It is also a nice way to teach people to do the same thing.

John Britton is Github’s “education liaison“, which means that he assists in bringing Github to schools and college campuses. The sweeping online service in the last few years have changed the way the way coders build software across Silicon Valley and beyond. According to Britton, it’s transforming the way that teachers teach coding now. In the end, Github is all about collaborating on code together.

Britton says Github’s various education programs has hundreds of thousands of students enrolled in it. Further, Github is used as a teaching tool by more than 3,000 teachers. Speaking to WIRED, he said “It’s becoming more and more popular. We’re definitely headed towards using more real tools in the classroom.”

Mark Tareshawty has a similar tale to tell us about Github. Currently, a senior in the computer science department at Ohio State University and a teaching assistant in the university’s web apps course, he has seen personally seen the rise of Github in education. The teachers are provided a platform by Github of readily sharing code and coding assignments with students while learning the skills of building software. Collaborative coding, which is an important skill in the modern world of pair programming can also be taught by teachers with the help of Github. That’s how software is built these days.

“When I started in computer science, there wasn’t a whole lot of collaboration, there wasn’t a whole lot of teamwork. You worked by yourself. You didn’t talk to anybody,” Tareshawty says, before pointing out that he started just three or four years ago. “But I’m now using Github as a teaching assistant, and it has really changed the way that people think….it feels more like what we would do when working out in the [professional world].”

He says that the issue is that sharing assignments in this way is not as simple as it could be. Therefore, to significantly streamline the process, he built Classroom for Github. The Github service is basically used by the teachers to invite students onto Github for creating and sharing coding assignments. According to Tareshawty, teachers can send a single URL to students. Once the URL is clicked, they are automatically set up to view, make changes, and work jointly on code.

The tool corresponds with Github Education, a service where teachers and students are provided classrooms with free private code repositories and where they can post code and collaborate. Based very much on Github, Tareshawty’s tool is open source that is available for free to the world at large. After Tareshawty built the new tool as part of the Github Summer of Code program, which gives stipends for student open source projects.

In an effort to better computer science education through internet services, Classroom for Github is a very huge step towards it. Courses that teach how to code are now available online not only to high school and university students but everyone, for instance, Codecademy, Khan Academy and more.

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