Like the rest of us, my 12-year-old daughter was not prepared to give up the life she knew over night, but unlike a lot of us adults with our set routines, the life she knew was already one of new beginnings. This was the first year of middle school, the last year before she is officially a teenager, the year she hoped she would be spending less time with dear old mom and more time with her friends. I wasn’t sure how this extroverted kid would handle school life online; I wasn’t sure how online school would work in terms of her IEP.
"There is a power in becoming creators"
Nicole Harris, an elementary school teacher in British Columbia, who ran a coding club for students aged 7 to 10, and has volunteered with Girls Who Code, agrees with this sentiment, as she talks about how coding can empower kids, “There is a power in becoming creators rather than consumers. When they are able to share ideas and stories through coding, some of the barriers that can exist with traditional methods are alleviated, allowing them to grow confidence in themselves as individuals with ideas to share.” Some of my mom guilt over being lax with screen time during COVID 19 is alleviated too, knowing that my daughter is creating on screen and not simply watching one.
Harris adds that girls face additional barriers, “When girls are at this age, this is the time to get them hooked and recognize themselves as a coder, before they get older and shy away. Exposing girls to coding now will help lessen the gender gap we see in the STEM field.” As highlighted in Hackergal Cassie Tatone’s November 2019 blog post, 'What I learned by ‘being bad at technology’, the percentage of women in STEM industries is 22%, only 2% higher than it was in 1987 (which, according to my daughter, is pioneer times). These stats need to change, and thanks to programs like Hackergal's Hackathon, they will.