School of Computer Science

Getting Girls Coding!

On Saturday 11th November, the School of Computer Science hosted Nottingham’s first Girls-Only CoderDojo event. Over 40 girls aged 7-17 came to the Computer Science lab to try their hand at a variety of coding activities:

• Scratch programming
• Using a BBC Micro:bit
• Making your own website with HTML
• Designing prototype apps

Helping on the day were over 30 volunteers, both from Computer Science (who were largely undergraduates), and from Thomson Reuters, who put the day together.
Dr Mercedes Torres Torres (Computer Science) and Cherie Pitcher (Thomson Reuters) introduced the afternoon with inspiring talks, after which the girls could work on whichever activities they wanted to try, with the help of our mentors.

Feedback from the day was extremely positive. Parents commented on the enthusiasm and commitment of the volunteers, the organisation, and the venue itself. The children themselves (or Ninjas, in the CoderDojo language!) were fantastic, engaging brilliantly with the activities. Seeing what they had achieved in the show and tell at the end of the day was inspiring. They certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves and learning something new – there are some comments from them at the end of this article.

The event itself was organised and run by members of Computer Science and Thomas Reuters, and builds on a model used by CoderDojo at events around the world. It is truly a global initiative; on Saturday 11th we were one of 9 Thomson Reuters-run Girls-Only Dojos happening that day around the world, for example. We even managed a live link up with two of the other dojos!
We’re very grateful for all the help organizing and running the event from the volunteers. One thing is clear: the helpers, organizers and attendees wanted us to do it again! Watch this space for the next CoderDojo afternoon….
What the Ninjas said they liked:

“Learning something new and exciting to get my brain working on something new :)”
“Coding and seeing the code work”
“BBC Microbit was fun because it could say my name”
“I like the BBC micro:bit because it’s fun and interesting. And I like the volunteers because they are kind and friendly”

Special thanks to Owen Roberts from Thomson Reuters, and Elizabeth Tomlin from Widening Participation for helping make this happen.

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Posted on Thursday 23rd November 2017

School of Computer Science

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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