Women and Coding – Do we need a different approach ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the last year, as part of my edtech start-up Feynlabs – I have been involved in developing new ways to teach Computer Science and Programming.

We have been primarily focussing on kids and schools including teachers.

Everyone agrees it’s a major issue – and a lot is at stake in getting young people to code.

As the father of a very motivated 10 year old who accompanies me on the Feynlabs journey with his own insights such as the lemon Pi   – I am personally motivated in this quest.

We started off with the facebook group – then the company with an excellent Feynlabs team

Over the last year we conducted trials in UK, Europe and USA to develop the Feynlabs methodology – specifically the feynmaps techniques (more on this later).

We also conducted trials with around 400 teachers online – which are still ongoing ..

So, some interesting insights over the last year

An interesting secondary observation of this work was  - that teaching women to code may need a different approach ..

I heard this from an educator (and I paraphrase)

If you give a two boys a tennis ball and ask them to throw it against a wall and catch it (one who drops first loses) ..

They will happily play that ‘game’ all day ..

But if you try the same exercise with girls – they will ask –

Why?

i.e. Whats the point of this exercise ..

This is actually a profound observation – with some implications for learning to code

Over the last year – working with so many people – we also observe the same.

So, instead of making changing colour/design of sites (ex pink) – how about tying it to a cause? 

Hence the image on this blog of the environment (image source – EU Digital Agenda)

So, we are now announcing a brief free online trial – essentially an adaptation of our work in schools – to teach women to code

I will post more on this later – assuming there is interest – but here are some key aspects – all of which we have been trialling over the last year

a)    How to read code

b)    Understanding Big Picture first

c)    Understanding meta patterns – think like a chess master – who sees many ‘matches’ before and can draw common patterns for the next move

d)    Coaching and Programming (focussed improvement)

e)    Pi (physical computing)

f)     the feynmaps techniques– more on this later

g)    linking to cause ex environmental issues (as opposed to boys being targeted to competitive etc) – see above

h)   Focus on Python Django Javascript node.js and mobile app development

i)     Small steps – over a longer duration – 6 months

j)      tutor led (one on one)

If you are interested – please email me at ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com

I am very much aware that this issue has been in the news over the last week and I hope our approach – based on our insights from trials – can add value

Later it could be a new program/kickstarter etc – not yet decided  – so welcome feedback