Technology enthusiasts and the ranks of the curious have been trying for years to rescue the term "hacker" from its pejorative meaning. A new conference that will teach kids the wonders of hacking may be one sign that such efforts are paying off.
Hackid is a new conference designed to "raise awareness and understanding of technology, mathematics, and engineering and the impact on society and culture." (Disclosure: I've volunteered my time to help with the Hackid Boston event, but haven't formally been involved in organizing the conference.) The conference, scheduled for October 9 and 10 in Boston, is the brainchild of Chris Hoff, author of the Rational Survivability blog and Director of Cloud and Virtualization Solutions at Cisco Systems.
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Hoff has said that he was inspired to start Hackid after taking his kids along to the recent Source Boston event, a security conference that's pretty dry and corporate. By contrast, spirited shows like Defcon -- where clinics on physical lock-picking and high-tech games of Capture the Flag are the main attractions -- provide ample inspiration for a "hacking curriculum" that can truly engage kids, especially in a world where educational policies like No Child Left Behind have put the focus in classrooms on remedial learning in reading, writing, and math, while draining resources from exciting, interdisciplinary learning.