My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Girls Who Code Clubs Christmas eCard Project - Workshop for Software Coding Females creating Evangelion Pilots passing on their knowledge

Monday, December 22, 2014

Girls Who Code Clubs Christmas eCard Project - Workshop for Software Coding Females creating Evangelion Pilots passing on their knowledge

“So, these workshops are to keep them interested and to expose them to new techniques in coding and hopefully, over time, they can develop clubs and ultimately to get more young ladies coding”

Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson explaining the Girls who Code Workshops held on Saturday November 15th and Saturday November 22nd 2014

Girls who Code is on the move with more workshops being held and coming in the future!

The Musson Foundation, at the prompting of JAMPRO (Jamaica Trade and Invest), has now come on board to teach twenty five (25) girls from ten (10) High schools in the Corporate area level Coding i.e. how to write computer programs as stated in the article “Gov’t Moves to Increase Girl Coders”, published November 25, 2014 By O. Rodger Hutchinson, The Jamaica Information Service.

During the workshop, a continuation of the Jamaican Girls Coding 2014 Summer Camp, the “young ladies” as State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Julian Robinson calls them are being taught the following Coding Skills:

1.      Website Programming Languages
2.      Animation
3.      Smartphone App Design
4.      eCard Design

They've been joined by Halls of Learning, who are the ones providing the training at the workshops held on Saturday November 15th and Saturday November 22nd 2014. This training workshop was a follow up to the month-long Inaugural Jamaican Girls Coding 2014 Summer Camp held in August 2014 as mentioned in my blog article entitled “Jamaican Girls Coding 2014 - How Girls Who Code Club at MICO can earn females JA$100,000 per month as Computer Programmers”.

The hope is that by exposing females to computer programming, they'll realize that careers are possible in the soon-to-start ICT (Information Computer Technology) Sector and start programming clubs called Girls Who Code Clubs.

Support for this initiative was expressed best by Musson Foundation Deputy Chairman, Melanie Subratie, quote: “When these girls are in charge of their own coding clubs, we are hoping that these 10… will mushroom into 250 girls coding. So we’re looking forward to competitions, curricula, and for it to last long and be successful in the schools that it rolls out into. If can get these girls and they set up coding clubs in their schools, we will sponsor as many as we can, and in five years time, can you imagine the multiplier effect!”

Aged between  11 to 15 years, they are the first test pilots, Evangelion Style, for an ambitious drive to get females interested in high-paying jobs in the ICT Sector, which they might end up building as a pure Computer Programming and Software Design industry doesn’t really exist in Jamaica as explained in my blog article entitled “International Girls in ICT Day - How Women can jump-Start Jamaican ICT Industry from Call Centers, Telecom Providers and NDA's”.

So this is a step in the right direction, as females may be the ones who'll actually create the ICT Sector in the next five (5) years.

Girls Who Code Clubs eCard Project - Why females are best suited for Software Coding

Females are easier to train than males. They also tend to work better in groups on projects that have a structure, being as they are mainly Read/Write and Auditory learners i.e. learning by reading, writing and listening.

Rarely are females Kinesthetic or Visual, as on the MICO University College I’m yet to see any female taking an interest in doing the Pure Sciences as well as Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Courses.

It seems that the general predisposition of males as evidence by how well the TIS (Tablet in Schools) Project is working to keep their attention and increasing their participation in class as argued in my blog article entitled “TIS Project a Success with Boys - JA$9000 for Subsidized Tablets as TIS Project replaces 600,000 Students School Books with e-books come September 2015”.

Hopefully, being exposed to computer programming at this age will predispose them to choosing Computer Programming, Information Technology and possibly Networking as career options in the future. So says Musson Foundation Deputy Chairman, Melanie Subratie, quote: “The Government has really put Jamaica at the forefront of technology in education with this project, with the Tablets in Schools project, and Start­Up Jamaica. Jamaicans are incredibly creative and this can only help the country’s development”.

Developing a natural love for programming is also easier among females, being as they are very control-oriented in their view of their environment i.e. they like the idea that they can program thing to do what they want and how they want it. So says Founder of Halls of Learning, Marvin Hall, quote: “The level where they can now write a programme or develop an application that does something, that’s the level we want to get them to. Coding is what gives you command over the computer”.

But the TIS Project might spark their interest in designing content for Tablets in the future, now that they're getting the exposure to Tablets and they possess these new found programming skills:

1.      Animation
2.      Robotics
3.      Smartphone App Design
4.      Video Game Design
5.      Website Programming Languages

Of particular interest to females are the field of Animation, Video Game Design and Robotics.

All three are similar, in that Coding is required to instruct the software on how to manipulate the objects, be they sequential images (Animation), characters in a game based on feedback from the player (Video Game) or response to external stimuli through its various Sensors (Robotics).

These fields hold the potential for fairly large levels of remuneration, often as high as JA$100,000 per month and the potential for travel abroad. Females make excellent ambassadors for Jamaica's ICT Sector and gradually by formation of the Girls who Code clubs, it'll encourage their adoption of Coding as a career thereby encouraging other females to enter a field that gives them control over their environment, be it virtual or real.

Girls Who Code Clubs – Participants already passing on their knowledge

This year, the State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Julian Robinson will select an eCard from among those being made by the girls to be sent out electronically as part of the Ministry's traditional. It's the ultimate expression of faith in the project, to quote the State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Julian Robinson: “We will brand it as a ‘Girls who Code’ project”.

Already it seems to be taking rot with the females who’ve participated in the program. Grade seven student at Dunoon Park Technical High school, Aleeka Sherrington states that they've already started a Girls Who Code club at her high school, quote: “You can produce your own games and create your own movie. We have already formed a club at my school and we are now ready to start going through all the processes".

Her elder sister Nakeisha Rhoden, was so desirous to enter the program that she begged to join. She's evidence that females like the idea of manipulating and controlling their environment, quote: “The whole programme is very interesting as it shows you how to develop from scratch, movies, cards and other things. Without this programme an object on the computer can’t move unless you give it a command, it is so precise”.

But the real diamond in the rough, a grade seven student at the Merle Grove High School, Diamond Brown, has already become an evangelist for the Girls Who Code Project, already teaching her immediate family and may potential be their first President for the Club, quote: “It makes you learn how to build your own games and do animation and ecards. When I go back to school, I will teach my friends how to build their own games and do animation. I’ve already started to teach my family, my cousins in 8th and 7th grade and they like it”

I certainly like the sound of that. Hopefully too, there may also be a Girls Who Code Club being formed at the MICO University College to teach girls how to code, taking advantage of the e-Learning Lab that is already on Campus.

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