Josh Brewer & Madeleine Dougherty

This April, we are stoked to have Josh Brewer, former Principal Designer of Twitter, joining us to discuss how to assemble amazing design teams. He will be joined by Girls Inc.’s Madeleine Dougherty, who will highlight some of the problems inherent in the ways we teach coding today and offer suggestions for how we can fix them.

Designing Teams To Design All The Things

Designing an exceptional product experience today feels more like fighting a multi-headed monster than a design challenge. As the multitude of devices and platforms continue to grow, so does the need for cohesive, collaborative Design teams. Drawing on years of leading and mentoring designers, Josh will address the challenges of building Design-led companies and products, arming you with the weapons you need to battle the multi-headed monster of Product Design.

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Josh Brewer

Josh is a vocal advocate for Design Leadership, writing and speaking about the challenges of building Design-led companies and products. As an active Advisor to several startups, a mentor at the Designer Fund, and part of the Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Beyer Design Council, Josh continues to influence the centrality of Design in early and late-stage companies.

In addition to being co-creator of 52 Weeks Of UX, Josh most recently served as Principal Designer at Twitter where he led the design of key initiatives across the Twitter product. His unique perspective and experience are why, in 2012, Fast Company named him one of “fifty designers shaping the future of design.

Prior to joining Twitter, Josh was Director of User Experience at Socialcast, an Enterprise social communication platform, which was acquired by VMware in 2011.

Coding Education and the Democratization of the Classroom

Our current public high school system was developed in the 1890s to support an economy and society which no longer exist. Much like the 1890s economy based on factories, assembly lines, and workers who don’t ask questions, our education system is based on rote memorization, the “one right answer”, and unquestioning obedience. As schools scramble to include technology in their curricula, they are turning to web-based, one-size-fits-all tutorials like Codecademy and Code.org. By relying on automated lessons in syntax rather than authentic practice with content, coding education is stuck in the 1890s! How can we expect our students to become successful programmers—let alone successful citizens in democracy—if we teach compliance before creativity and structure before purpose?

Educators and coders interested in bringing computer programming into their schools need a new approach to teaching. Coding is inherently democratic, requiring input from diverse teams and a focus on unifying outcomes rather than a boss’ singular demands. Truly effective coding education must be democratic also. This approach to teaching coding is not only bound to be more authentic, but also far more inclusive of girls and women, whose brains are uniquely wired for multidisciplinary, team-based problem solving.

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Madeleine Dougherty

Madeleine Dougherty has never not worked in education. Her career has spanned five school districts in two states and several subjects including language arts, special education, skilled trades, and, most recently, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Curiosity and nifty jargon like “hacker space” drew her into the world of Arduinos and Python programming, so now she is the Manager of Teen STEM Programs for Girls Inc. of Chattanooga. She is the creator of the Makers Society, a computer science and engineering course for high school girls, as well as the upcoming STEAM Park engineering summer camp. She was awarded Program Professional of the Year in 2014 by Girls Inc. National, which was “pretty awesome.

Madeleine’s primary goal in life is to make sure the world is a more just and equal place when her daughter grows up. Her programs are at the intersection of STEM and Social Justice, engaging girls in activism and advocacy through engineering and design. Madeleine engages herself in activism through membership in Choice Chattanooga, Healthy and Free Tennessee, and Concerned Citizens for Justice. She looks forward to the day her daughter is old enough to march through their Brainerd home, protesting bed time.