Today, the Tech Learning Collective is happy to announce our intent to join the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s network of community organizations who support digital rights, the Electronic Frontier Alliance (EFA). As radical queers and femmes, we viscerally understand the importance of having access to secure and private communication tools every time we use our computers. That’s why, as a technology school whose mission is to empower marginalized groups by enabling them to access all the digital age has to offer, our security-first approach to education places a premium on security and privacy from day one.
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One thing that makes the Tech Learning Collective different than other technical schools is our explicitly political approach. Our teachers have to be more than just competent technologists, they must also be politically engaged. Similarly, we prioritize enrollment for students who are committed to social justice and have demonstrated that commitment through concrete actions. This makes our classrooms sites of political praxis, sharpening our student’s ability to critically scrutinize the implications of modern technologies and the impact of tech companies from an ethical standpoint. Practically speaking, it also means that we introduce computer security topics far earlier in our programs than most other schools do.
More often than not, when people hear that the Tech Learning Collective (TLC) provides “foundational technology education,” they ask us what programming languages our courses cover. Our answer almost always surprises them: we don’t teach coding! It isn’t that learning to code is bad or something to be discouraged, but TLC was in part formed as a David to stand against the cultural “learn to code” Goliath.