• avitcreates@gmail.com

1st Virtual Girls Into Coding – August 2020

1st Virtual Girls Into Coding – August 2020

Sharing is caring!

My last face-to-face GIC event was in early March. Then COVID-19 struck. With the safety of our girls & the wider community in mind coupled  with the lock down restrictions, it was no longer possible to hold physical, face-to-face events.

Nonetheless, I was determined to continue delivering Girls Into Coding events, and knew we had to get ready to go virtual. To make it happen we coordinated with the other mentors to decide on what virtual workshops to offer the girls. I still wanted my virtual workshop to be hands-on and I still wanted it to involve robotics. Not a straightforward task! For practical reasons I had to make some changes to the robots, altering the amount of assembly needed – but still providing enough challenge.

As normal my robotic kits would need to be  accompanied by assembly instructions and code sheets. For the virtual event they needed to be really clear for the girls to refer to them independently when troubleshooting, particularly when checking  their wiring or syntax. I also put my workshop on Github. The girls could refer to it when the workshop was finished.

We reached out to two girls from our GIC community to test the robots & the instructions before deploying them. Thank you Hibbe & Sayuri. With their help we gained a good idea of what worked well and what needed to be improved to make the actual virtual workshop run successfully and smoothly. After making a few tweaks to the robots and the instructions / troubleshooting sheets we felt confident about using them for the workshop.

Hibbe

Once all of the modifications  had been  tested – I had to devise a way to package the kits, send them out to the girls and organise for them to be mailed back to us. To make the workshop accessible to more girls I decided to include Micro:bits in the kit bundles.

For the virtual event, in addition to my hands-on robotics workshop we had another two workshops that ran simultaneously. For one of them the girls learned about simple algorithms while using  an online robot simulator to program a robot to avoid random obstacles as it travelled across a virtual classroom. A huge thank you and well done to Ben & Sam for all of the hard work you put into  providing such a great opportunity.

The other one was a PyCreatures  workshop. It  involved building a coded creature in a virtual world, designing how it looked, what it ate, and how it behaved. The participants then coded their creature using Python and unleashed it into a virtual world. Thank you Llewelyn for all of the preparation that you put into making this workshop a success.

In addition to the workshops the girls had the opportunity to listen to the inspiring talks from two female role models, to develop their awareness of women engaged in STEM careers. A massive thank you to Sally Bogg & Neveen Elasar for sharing your journeys.

About The Guest Speakers

Sally Bogg

Sally (@sallybogg) is an Award winning Service Management Professional with 13 years experience of creating sector leading teams and services. She is a passionate supporter of the enhancement and empowerment of women in technology.

Neveen Elasar

Neveen Elasar is a Platform Engineer/DevOps Consultant with Sparta Global, an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, and a Diversity and Inclusion advocate. In her current role, she has been part of the platform engineering team working on automation, productization of tech services through Infrastructure as Code, and aiming towards moving the company to cloud-native technologies. With her experience and understanding of the variety of technologies and what it means to be a woman in tech – Neveen hopes to encourage more young people to consider careers in the digital sector.

The last item on the agenda was a group activity, where the girls from all three workshops could collectively join in a web controlled balloon popping activity using our web controlled robots. I think this was a nice way to wind down from the workshops and have a bit of a laugh.

Web Controlled Robots

Thank you to everyone involved – the girls & their parents, the speakers, the workshop mentors and my parents – everyone pulled together to make the event engaging, fun and challenging.

I’m very proud of what we achieved together, and a final thank you for all of the wonderful feedback, which we’ll use to keep improving what we do. 

The next Virtual Girls Into Coding event will be September 6th 2020. I am looking forward to it!

Avye

Avye

Hi, my name is Avye and I love making, coding, designing, exploring new technology and swimming! This site is about the things I get to experience, discover and enjoy. Welcome to my world!

Leave a Reply

four − 1 =