NCWIT is excited to be part of Made with Code — an initiative designed to inspire millions of girls to code. Made with Code includes:
- A new site where girls can try coding via introductory Blockly-based projects (from coding a bracelet to a soundtrack to an animated GIF and more)
- A directory where girls and their parents can find additional resources to code (after school programs, clubs, camps, etc)
- Awesome profiles of both girls and women who are using CS to achieve their dreams
- A $50 million commitment from Google over the next three years to programs increasing the gender diversity of computer science.
The goal is to inspire girls in computer science and change the profiles of what it means to code. As more girls become interested in code and see it as cool, we can help spark deeper engagement and learning in CS.
Two NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing recipients, Brittany Wenger and Tesca Fitzgerald, are among their featured coders and many of NCWIT's AspireIT and K-12 Alliance programs are in their local directories. In honor of the 'Made With Code' launch, NCWIT asked another AiC recipient, Josie Lamp, to tell her personal story of something amazing that she made with code.
Every year my high school has a Fine Arts Festival to honor the art that students have made throughout the year. It features performances, from dance to drama acts, to comedic acts and displays of physical art. Being a dancer, my role in this event was to choreograph and perform a "senior solo" to commemorate my high school years. I wanted to do something HUGE, and very different- not just a dance. So, I decided to combine my love of computer science and dance, and make a tutu that would light up and change colors while I danced. (Scroll down to see a video of Josie's perfomance.)
As of midnight on the night before the dance I was not going to be dancing because I could not get the tutu to work. I had the code finished, and all of the components laid out and connected properly (or so I thought), and I couldn't figure out what was wrong. Just as I was about to give up, my stepdad came downstairs and after about an hour of troubleshooting together, we figured out that the problem was that the rgb light strip was not grounded to the arduino. Once that was done, everything worked!! It was late and I was exhausted, but the tutu worked! I could not have been more excited!
The next day, the time for the dance came and I was bursting with nervousness and excitement. I stepped into my tutu, and put the batteries, arduino and switch into a carrying case I had sewn myself. I started the dance with little LEDs that I picked up and threw. Basically, the idea was that I was a robot who lived in a black and white world, just making these little LEDs. Then I got mad, which is when I turned on my tutu with the switch and the tutu lit up and changed colors. I no longer wanted to be just a mechanical robot, and I began to dance around, excited by my newfound freedom, but worried about what would happen. As the songs progressed, I started to get used to my new world and freedom, and at the end I was just having fun with all of my "neon lights," which is the name of the final song.
The dance was such a success. It was so amazing to be able to go up on the stage, dance my heart out and show off computer science in the process. Tons of people came up to me commenting on my dance and tutu, and many couldn't believe I had made the entire thing; the dance and the tutu. It not only showed off my love of dance, and made a senior solo not to be forgotten, it showed that computer science can be expanded into so many outlets, that creativity and computer science go hand in hand.
At one point a little girl with her mom came up. She was shy, but her mom told me that she had loved the tutu, and hadn't looked away for the entire dance. I showed the girl some pictures of my tutu up close, and then she whispered to her mom "Mom, can we make one of those?" I was so overjoyed that one small dance had made this girl get interested in computer science, even though to her it was just a super bright ballerina tutu. Being able to inspire other girls, especially young ones, to become interested in technology and computer science is absolutely amazing.
As a girl in computer science, I personally see the lack of women all around us. In all of my computer science classes I was the only girl, or one of two. Girls are so underrepresented, and they have so much creativity and other skills that need to be brought into Computer science. We just need to show girls how creative a field computer science is, and all the things you can do with it.