Workshops with Coder Chicks
Coder Chicks is a greater Orlando nonprofit organization focused on educating young girls on programming and computer science, particularly aimed at giving girls tools to do social good. The nonprofit has recently expanded beyond Central Florida through an additional chapter in Maryland. It was started by a girl at Seminole High School, my alma mater. She has held a series of workshops and after school classes as well as created a newsletter. I’ve been able to mentor, write for the newsletter, and teach at the workshops.
How do you teach children coding concepts? I started learning computer science once I began college and I still found it challenging to wrap my brain around. There are great new products that simplify coding that don’t use actual programming, but can be used to teach logic concepts. At the most recent workshop, we used Thunkable. It is an online platform that allows you to easily create iPhone or Android apps using drag and drop interface. The tiles mirror the statements that would be written in a programming language.
Here is an example of an application that was created in the last workshop, Application Development for girls 9 - 14 years old. It presents a screen to the user, prompting them for their age and then adding five to the integer given and resulting in the age you will be in five years. It’s a simple example application but is interesting to young children.
What have I learned?
Children have a short attention span. Plan easy and exciting tutorials.
Computer science logic concepts are easiest to learn as you do them.
Application Development is very cool.
Girls are interested in sharing the education they learn with their parents, siblings, and friends.
Children are very interested in using technology for environmental awareness & are in tune with current global issues.