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Revision as of 17:53, 30 July 2008 by Rmadams (talk | contribs)

Hacriculum is a collaborative effort to develop a comprehensive "hacker curriculum" that can help to shape well-rounded, imaginative, curious, and bright people into the hackers of tomorrow by focusing on key concepts that hackers, makers, and inventors value; Concepts like those codified in Stephen Levy's Hacker Ethic: sharing, openness, world improvement, and the technological creation of art and beauty. The hacriculum will eventually include material appropriate for all levels, including K-12, as well as higher education and adult students. The project is wide in scope and initially is being considered in several stages.

Expected Timeline

Phase 1: Development

During the development phase, contributors will establish an infrastructure for collaboration and begin to brainstorm thoughts about how to approach the project. Broad overviews of grade and subject matter will begin to be prepared, and some initial courses will be pilot tested.

Phase 2: After school and weekend short courses for teens and adults

Phase 3: Home schooling and Independent Study Lessons

Phase 4: Charter School

Phase 5: Expansion


Avenues of funding will be explored, including grants from educational foundations. Funding could also come from income from tution from short courses and home schooling lesson sales. A more formal budget will be put together soon.



The specific idea of a "hacker curriculum" isn't terribly unique, I've found. It seems to be on the tip of a lot of minds, but not something anyone has actually moved from concept to completion. As I've mentioned the idea over the past few weeks, each time it seems like the response is "ooh, I've been thinking about things like that," or "I've got a great idea for how to do that."

For me, it started several years ago when a friend asked me why there wasn't more science fiction in high school and college English classes. After an extended discussion on the idea, it was left to percolate in my brain for quite awhile, until a casual discussion at HacDC turned to schooling experiences as another member and I swapped stories of our different paths in K-12 schools. That led to a discussion of the Hacriculum idea, and the initial plan presented above. Several weeks later, in a discussion with an NYC Resistor member, the topic of a hacker's booklist came up again, and I got a chance to share some of the ideas for the Hacriculum.

And then, on July 29, 2008, other HacDC members began to discuss rudimentary programming technique classes for kids (and adults), and on the same day was registered and this wiki began.

Interesting References

There are many really interesting discussions about what it takes to become a hacker. One of the ones that I have shared with many interested kids is from Eric Raymond: [1] It is very good, covers the range of what it takes to be a software/systems hacker, and is radical enough to have some street cred. I also really like "Teach Yourself Programming in only 10 years" at [2] but it is a little much for someone who wants to start hacking today. My current personal favorite comes in the form of a recent juvenile novel by Cory Doctorow, "Little Brother" available for a free download at [3] or in hardcopy from at [4] Pretty amazing that a book available for free online is currently Amazon #1944 in books overall and #1 in Computer Books for kids. It goes to show you how fast the world is changing... The cool thing about the book is that it gets the tech right, and includes some of what makes being a hacker important and worthwhile, far beyond just technology.