Girls Who Code: Why I Code – The Daily Beast

For eight weeks this summer, a group of high-school girls brought together by the innovative program Girls Who Code gathered at the headquarters of IAC, the parent company of Newsweek/The Daily Beast, to learn computer programming and bridge the gender gap in the STEM fields. Here, they share their stories about how they gained the confidence to conquer the tech industry. “I have learned a tremendous amount in the eight short weeks that I have been a participant. I have learned how to code in JavaScript, Python, C, CSS, JQuery, and HTML. My high school, an all-girls Catholic school, does not offer any Computer Science classes; as a result, GWC has introduced me to a new world I would have never learned about otherwise. In addition, I have been able to connect and realize the similarities I have with these other young women who are hungry, and eager to learn, and who also hope to close the gender gap in CS… I think it is important to address the gender gap in CS because it is a real problem that begins at a young age, and is crucial to fix. A few things that I believe will help with the gender imbalance in CS would be to expose more young women in CS. Implementing courses in Computer Science to girls from ninth to twelfth grades will make it easier for young women to be exposed to CS. Instead of relying upon a program limited to the summer months, it should be throughout the school year, and either after school or on weekends. I am excited to take all that I have learned at GWC and take the first step to exposing other girls in my high school to CS, and start a Robotics/CS Club. Hopefully, this will be the first step to having a CS class in my high school later on down the line. Until then, I hope to spread the word of GWC, one girl at a time.” Read more at Girls Who Code: Why I Code – The Daily Beast.

Education Week: Computer Programming Goes Back to School

Learning programming introduces students to solving problems, designing applications, and making connections online.We are witnessing a remarkable comeback of computer programming in schools. In the 1980s, many schools featured Basic, Logo, or Pascal programming computer labs that students typically visited once a week as an introduction to the discipline. But, by the mid-1990s, schools had largely turned away from programming. In large part, such decline stemmed from a lack of subject-matter integration and a dearth of qualified instructors. Yet there was also the question of purpose. With the rise of preassembled multimedia packages via glossy CD-ROMs over the 1990s, who wanted to toil over syntax typos and debugging problems by creating these applications oneself? This question alone seemingly negated the need to learn programming in school, compounded by the excitement generated by the Internet. Schools started teaching students how to best surf the web rather than how to delve into it and understand how it actually works. Schools largely forgot about programming, some deeming it entirely unnecessary and others labeling it too difficult to teach and learn.But this is changing. In the past five years, we’ve seen a new-found interest in bringing back learning and teaching programming on all K-12 levels. But it’s digitally based youth cultures, not schools, leading this revival Kafai & Peppler, 2011. Computers seem to be accessible everywhere, particularly outside school, where children and youth are innovating with technology — often with hand-held devices — to create their own video games, interactive art projects, and even their own programmable clothes through electronic textiles. What’s more, the same computers on which they create these items connect them to wider networks of other young users who share common interests and a similar commitment to connecting through making. See more at Education Week: Computer Programming Goes Back to School.

A New Group Aims to Make Programming Cool – NYTimes.com

The presence of technology in the lives of most teenagers hasn’t done much to entice more of them to become programmers. So Hadi Partovi has formed a nonprofit foundation aimed at making computer science as interesting to young people as smartphones, Instagram and iPads.

Mr. Partovi, a successful Seattle-based technology investor and entrepreneur, founded Code.org with the goal of increasing the teaching of computer science in classrooms and sparking more excitement about the subject among students. Mr. Partovi, who is an adviser and investor in Facebook, Dropbox and Airbnb, was inspired to create the Code.org after seeing technology companies struggle to find enough programming talent.

See mare at: A New Group Aims to Make Programming Cool – NYTimes.com.