by Kathryn Nieves
This week I’m going to take a quick break from the introduction of a new technology tool to cover a technology-based program with an interesting perspective to bring to the teaching of ELA.
Girls Who Code is an organization with the goal of bringing more female computer programmers into the world. According to the organization’s website, in 1995, 37% of people in computer science were women, whereas today that number is only 24%. Since technology is a continuously growing field, the number of computer science degrees will only continue to increase.
The organization has established free clubs based on teaching computer science to young girls. According to the organization’s website, they have at least one club in every single state in the United States. The organization offers a variety of options for clubs based on different age groups. Educators can get involved by applying to start a club in their area or for their students.
With the push for STEM education, the question is always where ELA fits into the mix. Girls Who Code is offering the perfect opportunity for students to pair coding with language arts. The organization is offering the chance to participate in a book club. Girls can combine an interest in coding with an interest in reading.
The organization is offering a book club for grades 3-5, where students can read and discuss the nonfiction book Learn to Code and Change the World. Girls Who Code provides five free books for each club to use. The book can help to bring interested young girls into the world of computer science.
There is also a 6-12 free club, where students receive hands-on experience learning to code. The only requirements are access to computers and the internet, as well as someone over 18 to supervise and a sponsor, such as a school. Clubs receive free access to the computer science curriculum and use these skills to create a project out their community.
Teachers can apply to bring this club to their school for interested girls. An interesting idea would be to pair the concept of coding with different English literature activities, such as connecting their newly learned skills to a project or assignment that related to a book or story they were reading in class. It would be a great way to show how ELA can be integrated into the computer science world.
In order to start one of these clubs in your school, you could visit the Girls Who Code website and complete the online application. Any additional questions or requests of specific information can be sent to the Girls Who Code New Jersey representative, Eve Balick, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Girls Who Code is the perfect way to bring computer science to a group of students who need these resources the most while also appealing to the current educational focus on STEAM.