- Microsoft research found that by the time they’re in college, 58% of female students believe that jobs requiring programming and coding are “not for them”
- A girl guiding survey in the UK found that fewer than 10% of girls aged 7 to 10 said they would choose a career as an engineer or scientist
- Only 1.4% of Nobel Physics Prize winners have been female
- Make sure they are represented in displays, presentations and resources
- Follow inspiring women on twitter and share their stories with your class
- Many of the leaders and team members at BSD are female, performing key roles in a fast growing international technology company. To highlight a few: Charlotte Brearley is the Chief Operating Officer with global responsibility, Eva Yeung is a Director in our Education Team and a key strategist in our educational vision, and Gabrielle Iorio is a key leader responsible for the growth of our Business in the United States. We would be more than happy to connect you with Charlotte, Eva, Gabrielle or any of our broader team to share their stories with your class.
- You need to be good at math to be good at coding To be a good coder you don’t need to have in depth knowledge of mathematical concepts (like trigonometry, algebra or calculus). Once you have understood the basics of the code, to be a good coder you need to be able to consistently follow a process, think logically and solve problems methodically within the bounds of the code’s capabilities. Being a strong problem solver is something that in the world of work and as adults we have to do every day, so coding and technology is a great way for students to learn something really relevant for their future.
- It’s monotonous and boring Anything built with code is about thinking and working creatively. This normally means taking an initial concept, seeing if people like it and then making adjustments to get it just right. It is far from being monotonous, but really relies on students using their existing knowledge and taking new approaches to create technology that can assist or enhance the world around them. The beauty of anything made with technology is that the results are often instant and clear for the creator to see.
- You need to memorize and know all the code There are hundreds of coding languages, so this means that no coder can know everything all the time or even try to remember it all. To get around this, coders regularly look up new syntax and snippets of code and borrow from each other. Coding is a very active community with an ethos of people with different skill levels working together and helping each other out.
- Coders don’t socialize much Useful technology tools are always created by teams where people with different primary interests and abilities work together performing different tasks. For this reason, coders and technologists need to collaborate and communicate effectively with others, sometimes across time-zones, cultures and national borders which makes coding and technology a very sociable activity.
- Coding is only for boys Coding is a skill and a toolkit that is relevant for everyone. The very first coders in the world and some of the most influential coders have been women. For instance, Ada Lovelace is considered the world’s first coder, Grace Hopper developed the first compiler for programming languages and Marissa Mayer was one of the first programmers at Google. You can find some ideas for encouraging female students to take on the challenge of technology in this article by our COO, Charlotte, here
- Imagine and plan: Developing games is a creative endeavor and the first thing your child will learn is to translate what s/he has in mind to paper, creating a storyboard. This first step of putting your imagination to paper helps to spot the gaps in the idea and in turn, solidifies the gameplay.
- Problem-solving: During the process of building the game, kids will encounter many problems like the code not working, not understanding some parts of the code, complexities of developing an algorithm, etc. They will have to think logically and creatively solve these problems, often brainstorming with others to come up with a solution that not only works but also pleases their users.
- Adapting to Feedback: The experience of the users is key to the success of the game. To ensure the game players will have a fun and engaging experience, kids will have to carefully plan the game experience, its rules, structure, levels, and score system. During this they will have to give the game to other users, observe them and take their feedback. Feedback comes with many different suggestions. Kids creating a game will need to consider the feedback they receive, and learn to exercise their judgement as to what will ultimately be a compromise on how they incorporate it into their final game. This is great preparation for their daily lives as adults and an excellent exercise in empathy.
- Communication and presentation: Every child needs to clearly present their game, how it works, how they built it and how they overcame challenges. Where kids have worked on their games as a team, they also get to plan their presentations and make sure that the contributions of the all members of the team are valued and recognised. This reinforces a lot of the lessons from school about collaboration and citizenship.
Written by Charlotte Brearley, BSD Education
A key aim for us at BSD is to help teachers bring real world applicable technology projects into their classrooms. Not only does this help prepare students for future life, but, importantly, it helps them understand the relevance of what they are learning. By building something real that can be shared with the outside world, students learn new skills and see the impact those skills can have. This increases engagement, inspires creativity and develops student ownership.
The ‘real world’ can be brought into the classroom in a number of different ways, but one highly effective option is to make connections with ‘real world clients’. Through this approach, students are given a brief and go through the design thinking process to fulfil the clients’ requirements. A great example of this can be seen at Riverside School, Ahmedabad, India where the students complete client projects across all grades.
This video shows one of these projects in action and highlights the impact this style of learning can have on both subject knowledge and ‘softer’ skills, such as collaboration, problem solving and giving and receiving feedback.If you have brought real world clients into your classroom, we’d love to hear from you! Please share your stories with us….