This week I had the privilege of being invited to Melbourne to work with the co-founders and volunteers of Code Like a Girl. Code Like a Girl is an Australian organisation, founded by Ally Watson and Vanessa Doake, to inspire more females to engage in careers in coding and technology. Volunteers, including app developers, coders, other technology-related professions and a teacher, work with younger generations of girls through workshops and Code Camps to inspire them to get into coding and careers in technology and also to encourage women in technology to take on leadership roles.
I was slightly intimidated by speaking to these professional app developers and coders about coding (which is their profession!), but had a fantastic day! While their coding skills and experience far exceed mine, they were after strategies to engage the younger learners – ways to teach coding to students as young as 5 years old in ways that will engage them in their learning. This I could do! One of my specialties is ways to engage young students in computational thinking and coding from K-6, and they all had a great time learning about new ways to teach coding, with strategies they had never thought of. When they were younger students, coding was not taught in schools, so they were very interested to see the difference in teaching coding to young students compared to learning coding as an adult. We discussed that this could be an interesting study in the future, to see what difference there is in the ability and creativity of coders in the future.
The Get Started with Code and Learn to Code multitouch books on the iPad from Apple Education were the basis of our whole day session, exploring the many resources available to teachers to engage students in learning coding, including unplugged coding and app prototyping with Keynote. The books include hands-on activities to print out and video examples that can lead you every step of the way.
They were all very impressed with Swift Playgrounds, and the back end and front end coders commented on what a great quality app it was. All could see how engaging it is to students and how it introduces the important coding aspects such as while loops, conditional code and functions in a fun format.
Also a lot of fun was introducing coding with Sphero. I found it very interesting the different projects that professional coders were trying with Sphero – I said they have really raised the bar!
I had a wonderful day meeting these inspirational women who are such great role models to women and girls, and inspire young girls to know that they, too, can code and make a career in technology. Thank you for having me!