To avoid perpetuating the tech industry’s glaring gender gap, schools should look more closely at these grass-roots initiatives that have had success in attracting and inspiring girls. One X factor seems to be the presence of female role models, which can be hard to come by when you’re one of the only girls in your computer science class. Girls know the stereotype of a geeky guy hacker in his basement all too well, and interacting with women who use computer science in their professional lives gives them an idea of something to go after besides an endless string of code. Many of the instructors, coding evangelists and students I spoke with credited a female mentor who nudged them along.
Rebecca Feldman, a seventh grader from Queens, had a discouraging experience in a robotics after-school program. “I was one of two girls in the class,” she said. “We kind of had to fend for ourselves.” Then her parents heard about CoderDojo, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching kids to code free of charge.
CoderDojo NYC, which has a 50/50 split of girls and boys and is ethnically diverse, was co-founded by Rebecca Garcia, a 23-year-old programmer who gravitated toward coding through an early obsession with NeoPets, an online game popular with girls that lets players customize their pet shops using the languages HTML and CSS.
Rebecca Feldman was mentored by Ms. Garcia — “a cool adult I could go to for help” — and became known as Little Rebecca. One of her projects is a website about tomboys. “Her parents told me she had never heard of computer science before,” Ms. Garcia recalled. But after the very first session, she told her parents, “I really like this. Is this something you can do for a living?”
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
Maker Business — A field guide to designing your PCBs, learned the hard way
Wearables — 5 meter fun
Electronics — Current limiting!
Biohacking — A Gene to Predict Modafinil Response
Python for Microcontrollers — Python snakes its way on the SparkFun SAMD21 Mini, Hackaday.io, 10k thanks, and Tim’s magazine #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @circuitpython @micropython @ThePSF @Adafruit
No comments yet.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.