Working together for standards The Web Standards Project


Something magical happens when you put a group of people that have a shared passion in the same room together. We’re not just talking “excitement” here, either. We’re talking passion — the kind that keeps the fire in the belly burning; the kind that brings people together from far away lands and unites them in a way that instantly seems like they’ve been friends forever.

This was the feeling in Denver at the education-focus day “Ed Directions North” (held in conjunction with Web Directions North). The day included teachers from high schools, from colleges and universities and from industry. The premise was simple: bring together educators, web professionals and industry representatives to create a kind of think tank on improving the quality of education for the next generation of web professionals.

I say “we” but really I mean to say that there were a few key people that were involved in putting this together:

The tireless work of these people, especially Steph, Aarron and Chris with the hands-on work, and John for his support of the concept and the event combined with the work of Leslie Jensen-Inman and Bill Cullifer for their “Web Professional Education Summit” made for an excellent event with a focus on education like we haven’t seen before.

I was asked to share my expertise in accessibility (and teaching accessibility), others were there to share other specialties: Dave Shea, Mike ™ Smith, and Christian Heilmann (though I ended up delivering Christian’s slides on JavaScript as he got stuck in London with flight delays)

The bottom line? This was one of the most exciting events I’ve participated in. It was more than just a pre-conference. It was a group of people with a shared passion for education. It was enough to give me goosebumps, and others tell me they got an incredible buzz from it as well. This sounds incredibly corny to write, but on that day, we came away feeling like we really could make the world a better place. We had new friends, allies and conviction to improve the curriculum and teaching and learning materials for tomorrow’s web designers and developers.

This passion is what you’ll see when you come see the WaSP panel at SXSW and learn of the work that we’re doing on the education front. This passion is what you’ll see as we create our direction forward as the Web Standards Project. This passion is what you’ll see as WaSP implements a vision of improving and continuing education about web standards and accessibility best practices. I hope you share the passion that we do.

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#1 On February 21st, 2009 4:46 pm