GIRLsmarts4tech

After months of meetings and planning, we finally had our first workshop!

If you did not know, I am a Group Leader at GIRLsmarts4tech, a workshop held by UBC's Department of Computer Science (sponsered by Microsoft). These workshops are intended to inspire girls to develop an interest in Computer Science at an early age. All I can say is, I wish I could have gone to one of these in my time.

My Saturday was well spent teaching girls HTML, 3D printing, HCI & Programming. The best part of being a group leader is that you get to participate in all the events rather than just one. To document such an amazing and funfilled day, I used snapchat's time stamps to take pictures throughout the day and created a collage. That also means I am saving you lots of scrolling time as those 16 pictures individually would have been a pain to scroll through.

Here's how my day went:

All the group leaders arrived early at 8:15 am to grab breakfast together and prepare for the girls' sign ins. We got awesome T-shirts, a super cool folder and this huge colourful bow to wear on our heads (the colour of the bow represents the colour of my group!)

12625848_10203905256190989_649750523_n.jpg

We then proceeded to our first stop, HTML. Watching the girls code in HTML reminded me of how I used to do that on Neopets. The webpages they ended up creating looked beautiful. My favourite part of this activity was watching them decide the theme of their web pages. There was Justin Bieber (of course), Figure Skating, Hippos, and the list goes on. I felt really awesome "debugging" their code and helping them out. (Most of them were usually either just missing a quotation mark or bracket, but shhh, don't tell them- or else I won't seem like a tech wizard anymore)

Then we moved on to 3D printing. My sister currently works at a 3D printing company and for Christmas, she even made me a 3D printed snowflake necklace. Therefore, the process was quite familiar to me. However, the session was fun nonetheless and to be honest, when could 3D printing ever get boring? 

At around 1pm, we moved on to HCI. HCI was probably my favourite because the girls got to be as creative as they wanted to be throughout the entire hour. They then got to present their mini projects for the rest of the girls. They are such an intelligent group!

 By the way, you can tell the Red Group is the coolest by our Neko Atsume poster ;)

By the way, you can tell the Red Group is the coolest by our Neko Atsume poster ;)

Our last stop was programming, the girls were taught how to program using Scratch. The process is straightforward and is such an incredible programming language to teach to children! Check it out here: https://scratch.mit.edu/ Even with programming experience, Scratch is still very fun to play with.

Finally, all the groups then met up and participated in some tech demos. Microsoft was there letting the girls play Just Dance 4 with Kinect, the rest of the group leaders and I could not help but dance and sing along too. There was also a demo on FeelCraft, "a framework for creating tactile experiences for entertainment media". Learn more about it here: http://oliverschneider.ca/feelcraft/ It was an impressive demo and when Oliver Schneider was showing us his work, the room was filled with Ooo's and Ahh's! (Did I mention he worked for Disney Research? I bet Disney Research is actually the happiest place on earth.) 

Just like that, our day was wrapped up. It is an incredible experience and opportunity. I do not regret a single second spent on this workshop. I do not even resent attending a meeting the day before a midterm, which quite frankly, says a lot. 

There will be another workshop coming up very soon, I might blog about it if I have time but if not, here is my experience with GIRLsmarts4tech.

Learn more about GIRLsmarts4tech by clicking here.