We’ll probably apply to be a participating organization for the Google Code-in coming up next month. It’s a student program a la GSoC, but for pre-university students age 13-18. Instead of one long one-on-one project, Code-in is a “contest” rather a dedicated mentorship. The way it works is that the organizations (like us) make a list of tasks that students could work on during the 6-week contest period, falling into a variety of categories:
Code: Tasks related to writing or refactoring code
Documentation: Tasks related to creating/editing documents
Outreach: Tasks related to community management and outreach/marketing
Quality Assurance: Tasks related to testing and ensuring code is of high quality
Research: Tasks related to studying a problem and recommending solutions
Training: Tasks related to helping others learn more
Translation: Tasks related to localization
User Interface: Tasks related to user experience research or user interface design and interaction
Unlike GSoC, where students proposed projects based on our suggestions, for Code-in students do not suggest projects, but work from our pre-defined task list. Students sign up to work on one task at a time (we can accept for reject the assignment). They can complete up to 15 tasks, and will be awarded $100 for every three completed tasks. Since prizes are based on # of tasks, we will need to make sure that the task list we come up with is even — that is, we need to break things down so that each task should take about the same amount of time/effort.
Students can ask questions (though they are expected to look for answers themselves first), and can collaborate with community members on their tasks as appropriate. This format makes mentorship a much easier thing to commit to than with GSoC, as the amount of time you mentor is flexible and on an as-needed basis.
If we are chosen to participate, then we’ll likely use the #wordpress-gsoc channel for the code-in students to seek help/guidance, and could set up a group blog as well if it seems like it would be useful.
In the comments, feel free to make some preliminary suggestions for tasks that middle/high school students between the ages of 13 and 18 would be able to do. The application for organization participation is in a week or so, and the students get involved later in November.