26.09.2019

Girl Power Programming – Scratch Workshop for Young Girls

Unity Group organized programming training for girls in Switzerland. We support young generations and foster girl power in IT! 

Do you know that the world’s first computer programmer was a woman? In the 1840s, Ada Lovelace wrote the world’s first algorithm for a mechanical calculation machine (Analytical Engine) that existed only on paper and was never built. 

On Saturday, 21 September 2019, a group of 10-year-old girls followed Ada’s footsteps to Alte Chuchli in Zurich to discover computer programming. The workshop, organized by Kilchberg Parents’ Association and led by the Unity Group, began with a brief history of the women that helped shape the early years of information technology. The girls were very surprised to learn that the first electronic computers were usually programmed by women who back then outnumbered men in that area! 

I like learning new skills, it was nice to see my friends and do something interesting with them.

Sofia, age 10.

For the 1st programming experience, we selected Scratch – an educational visual programming language designed to teach children the core programming concepts and basic algorithms. The structured and logical thinking required are useful skills to have, even for those who have no intentions of ever becoming a programmer. The girls loved experimenting with various code blocks and assembling them to control and animate a cartoon animal. A few become so engrossed that they did not want to leave and asked how they could continue coding at home! 

I loved choosing different animals and backgrounds for the game.

Emma, age 10.

We hope to have inspired the girls by giving them a taste of what computer science is about, by challenging common stereotypes and finally by showing that programming can be fun! The girls’ parents were also positively surprised by the enthusiasm of the workshop among their children. Due to the great interest, we are already planning another programming workshop for young girls. We have hopes to explore this initiative further in the next editions of Girl Power programming workshops.

Learning programming is learning another language, and akin to writing. You can create something that others can experience. Sequential thinking is key in programming (…) These are good skills to develop, even if you don’t go into computer work. But should the child want to work in this quickly developing field, better to start early. It will be only an advantage to at the very least understand the concept of computing. 

Susanne, Sofia’s Mom.

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