A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of being involved with a March break camp aimed at introducing and preparing some of our young girls to web making, as we call it. The camp was called Girls Learning Code.
You’ve heard me talk about Ladies Learning Code (LLC) and my involvement with that and Girls Learning Code (GLC) was actually the whole reason why I wanted to get involved with LLC in the first place. More than my desire to help and teach other women and men about technology is the desire to help our youth, more particularly, our young girls look at technology as another medium for their creativity.
Yes, I would like to see more women in our field but more particularly I would like to see more young girls realize the potential for technology to help them achieve their goals. I want them to see it as something that they can manipulate in their own creative way. I think there’s a huge potential for our young girls to think of amazingly fantastic ways of utilizing our technology in new ways. And I think for the next generation it’s important to cultivate an industry around technology that takes into account the perspective of males and females.
GLC is new and I don’t think there’s anything quite like it in Toronto at the moment. I’d like to hear from anyone who knows of anything else in Toronto or anywhere else really so we could see what others have done to help our young girls. As the first run of GLC I think it was amazingly successful. The girls created their own hacked website by the end of the week. And in the process they were exposed to various creative applications that introduced them to programming. They were also given the freedom to use their own creative hobbies to add to their website. We took them to see the Google offices which they loved and also to meet with other female entrepreneurs who are creating wonderful things with technology. The goal was to expose the girls to the various avenues in technology and bits and pieces of what that may involve. I think they were able to get a sense of what coding really is, how the web is created and just how great the potential is for someone to make the web what they want it to be.
The group web projects that they created seemed to have one recurring theme across all of the groups: helping others through technology. Each of them rallied behind a cause from which they would build their website around and all of them had some sort of fundraising business model by which they could help others. It’s amazing that in a group of 40 young girls the common characteristic seems to be compassion and empathy. This is precisely why it’s important for our young girls to grow up and contribute to the digital world that we now live in. And that’s not to say that our young boys can’t be compassionate and empathetic but I think as females we have an innate need to care and nurture.
I am extremely proud of those young girls and hope to see them running the world someday. I also hope that GLC will continue to evolve and expand and hopefully by the time I have kids I can send them to camp!
I’ll leave you with Mozilla’s interview (rough cut) of the girls impressions and experiences… aren’t they great?!