Yesterday I kicked off CS Ed Week by bringing in two hip Computer Science-y women to talk to our high school students. Kimberly Blessing and Lindsay Lindstrom joined us to talk about why they like Computer Science and what they do. They also showed off some resources for students who are interested in learning about CS, but who may not have the time to fit it into their schedule. They pointed out Web Start Women and TechGirlz, just two of the many organizations out there hosting classes in the evenings and on the weekends to give women and girls the opportunity to learn programming or other IT skills in a friendly environment.
Today, my Upper School students visited a 1st grade science class to show off their projects. They showed how their robots took pictures, went through mazes, and played tag. They really seemed to like it. Tomorrow, they’ll take the same show to the Middle School assembly.
It’s a real challenge to get girls interested in CS. We have a lot of smart girls in our school, and a lot are interested in entering fields related to science and math, but CS is not on their radar. These kinds of things keep it on their radar. I also am trying to put CS in their sights early. Today I had my first session on computing with 1st and 2nd graders. Eventually we’ll build robots. And then maybe they’ll join the robotics club in middle school and then take CS in high school. I hope that by keeping it on the radar throughout their years here, we’ll draw in a few more. And I don’t necessarily want to create a ton of new programmers, but I do want everyone to know a little something about programming. I’m encouraged so far, but this is a long-term investment that will take a while to bear fruit.