Coding for Girls – Now is the Time to Shine
STEM is a buzzword increasingly touted by educators and the media. But what does it mean and why are so many acknowledging the power it holds? STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math that highlights subjects important for kids to learn in today’s technology-infused world and workforce. Educators believe that integrating and teaching these subjects together can make them more tangible and engaging. The goal is to attract more brilliant young minds to STEM fields, and helping them develop skills like teamwork, critical thinking, and high-tech skills like coding.
But what about girls – you say? Endless statistics demonstrate a stunning lack of women in computer science and tech. Only 28 percent of computer science degrees are earned by women and only 11 percent of executive positions in high-tech Silicon Valley companies are held by women. With the current focus on inclusion, diversity, and equality in the workplace, now is the time to ignite your daughters’ interest in coding and foster her curiosity in technology! Is coding for girls? Yes, please!
Busting Stereotypes About Coding for Girls
The stereotype is that coding is for boys. Coders are depicted in the media as nerdy, antisocial, and lonely. Check out this post on 10 Myths about coding and how to bust them. Most girls need a bit of extra convincing that coding is for them.
Depending on the girl, there’s different ways to get them started with coding. Maybe you have a geek girl, but more likely you have a socialite, an overachiever, or an artist. Coding is for all of these types of girls! Read this post for tips for how to hook any of these girls on coding.
The best stereotype buster is to surround girls with other girls who code. At Connected Camps, we code with Scratch and Minecraft in our online coding labs. A lot of girls are already excited about Minecraft and the Scratch online community has just as many girls as boys, making it an ideal place for coding for girls! Our friends over at MIT who run the Scratch community have written about how Scratch is a place for kids of all interests.
Benefits of Coding for Girls
Coding is a skill in demand. And with computer science majors earning 40% more than average college degrees, educating your daughter in the area seems like a no-brainer. The merits of coding don’t end with the financial advantages though.
Coding is about problem solving and persistence. Girls take on complex problems and break them down into smaller manageable parts. Girls learn how to approach a problem as a software engineer might, with logical and computational concepts. Logical thinking is a priceless powerful tool your daughter can utilize in school and throughout her lifetime. Learning to code is an exciting challenge, but as with any challenge – she will make mistakes along her path to discovery. Your daughter will understand the feeling of accomplishment when successfully solving a problem.
Additionally, coding can improve collaboration and communication skills. At Connected Camps, coding is part of participating in a friendly collaborative community. In our labs and summer camps, kids work with counselors to tackle coding challenges together, and share them in our Minecraft server or Scratch online community. By introducing your daughter to online coding communities, you will be building off something she is already interested in, expanding her mind and communication skills effortlessly.
How to Get Started
At Connected Camps, we’ve proudly introduced coding to countless girls! In addition to over 30% of our users being female, 45% of our counseling staff is also female, leaving your daughter with no shortage of intelligent and engaging role models! By offering a fun and constructive atmosphere with the support of our knowledgeable and friendly counselors, we encourage your daughter’s natural curiosity and capitalize on her love for the ever-popular game – Minecraft! (Learn more about our after school labs and programming here.)
Check out our recommendations for other tools the can support coding for girls. Our team has reviewed:
- Scratch, a creative coding tools and community where kids to create their own interactive stories, animations, and games. Scratch is developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab.
- Hopscotch, a free iOS app that allows kids to create and share their own games using a block-based drag-and-drop platform.
- Ready Maker, an easy-to use application for kids to make games and publish them to the iTunes, Google, and Windows app stores. You can also use Ready Maker to program robots and Arduino.
- App Inventor, a free cloud-based tool for kids to create applications for Android phones.
- The LittleBits Coding Kit, physical electronic building blocks that can be programmed to control buttons, dimmers, pressure sensors, and sound triggers.
All these tools and platforms are a great way for girls to get started with coding!
What are You Waiting For?
From setting her up for financial independence to exposing her to character building problems, coding IS for girls, and it’s a fun way to make friends, too! By instilling a love for STEM through coding, and encouraging your daughter’s natural interest in the world around her, she can grow to be the best version of herself – smart, self-assured and up for any challenge!