On Nov. 7, a group of young girls broke the Internet. Or at least that was the joke when hundreds of girls participating in Girls Learning Code Day events, hosted by 22 chapters across Canada, caused Mozilla Thimble to go down. NAIT Women in Technology and Trades partnered with the Edmonton chapter of Ladies Learning Code to host a workshop teaching HTML and CSS to girls aged 8-12.
“The smiles, laughter and high-fives that end up coming out throughout the day of learning [are] definitely one of the best things to see,” said Bree Emmerson, CoChapter Lead of LLC Edmonton.
“It happens in our adult workshops, too – learners come in having zero to minimal knowledge of the code they are about to work with and when they see that something they code outputs something cool and intentional, there is an ‘a-ha!’ moment that can be infectious.”
Sam, a 10-year-old girl in attendance, said that it’s “fun to see when you’re like creating it, to see you’re creating it and doing it yourself and not just watching others do it.”
Emmerson said that “by opening up the world of code at a young age, we hope that we can help girls develop a willingness to try new things, become more confident and self-assured and discover a passion for learning and building.”
She says that the goal is to make a comfortable atmosphere for girls to learn and experiment with coding because the more comfortable they feel, the more likely they are to stick with something that interests them.
Anya, a nine-year-old with goals of being a robotics expert or aeronautics engineer, said she thinks “it’s really cool and exciting to come here and see how to actually do [code]. I don’t think a lot of kids know how to do this!”
Partnering together to host this event has benefits for both NAIT Women in Technology and Trades and Ladies Learning Code. “The best thing about having these type of events for girls is it allows them to experience different areas before making their college or university decision,” said Boni Ehman from WITT.
“There are lots of options available for everyone these days and the more programs that promote what they have to offer, the better.”
Events like Girls Learning Code offer a fun environment for them to try out new skills and make them familiar with career paths and post-secondary options they might not have pursued otherwise.
Emmerson explains that the benefits of partnering with WITT go far beyond a venue and logistics; “[they’re] just as passionate about our goal to bring digital literacy to women and youth as we are … Attendees, both learners and mentors, are also able to see what a future in technology can include and speak with the people who are already part of that world and gain some insight to what next steps they may like to take.”
Danielle S. Fuechtmann