Believe it or not, I can’t wait to spend the rest of the summer coding with high school students I haven’t yet met!
Over the last two weeks, I helped high school juniors and seniors code websites advocating topics they care about passionately. I facilitated a sisterhood of young women lifting each other in praise and graduating from the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program (GWC SIP) with new skills, newfound friendships, and innovative perspectives on their futures. And over the next 6 weeks, I will see another 60 students, from all over the world, take risks, be brave, and discover how great Computer Science can be.
Over the last few months I have been working with the Watertown Wilson County Public Library to launch an after school coding club called “Watertown Impact”. Every Wednesday, 7 young women, 6th through 12th grade, spend their afternoons learning to code.
The students come from different backgrounds, and utilize their different learning styles and problem solving skills to create something entirely new. They are quickly realizing that enthusiasm, hard work, curiosity and risk taking are essential to learning standard web languages as well as structural and presentational aspects of web design. And they’re usually laughing the whole time. They are becoming digital creatives, and it is wonderful to witness their originality and curiosity.
Already, they are putting their burgeoning coding skills to work for Wilson County by creating a website to promote the use and maintenance of the county’s new Little Free Libraries, a project organized by United Way of Wilson County to promote reading, strengthen community and inspire creativity. The site will feature pictures of the new Little Free Libraries, a map of library locations, and information on use, donations and the sponsors of the libraries.
This project requires peer-to-peer in addition to student-to-mentor relationships that extend beyond the local and into the world-wide coding community. Students will have the opportunity to publish their code in online repositories and receive input from others in the industry from around the world. They will visit local agencies, too, for some hands-on experiences of the local programming scene. Connections between industry and students opens possibilities and opportunities for kids and their futures and that’s something we’re very proud to facilitate.
Be sure to read the bios of these fledgling coders, once their new site is live. Their enthusiasm for learning, experimenting and having fun is contagious. They know that anything is possible.