Event puts girls on course towards programming

St. Margaret's students take part in National Girls Learning Code Day

St. Margaret’s students Natalie Beilin and Anjulie Djearam were just two of the attendees of the latest Girls Learning Code workshop.

St. Margaret’s students Natalie Beilin and Anjulie Djearam were just two of the attendees of the latest Girls Learning Code workshop.

St. Margaret’s may have science labs, two gyms, a sports field and rooms for music and culinary arts, but on Saturday, the computer rooms were the place to be.

The private independent school hosted one of two local coding events as part of National Girls Learning Code Day, teaching young students and residents how to build and design their own websites. In Canada, 1,090 children and parents tried their hands at HTML and CSS, two coding languages used for developing content and stylistic features of websites.

“Here in Victoria, at St. Margaret’s and UVic together, we had almost 150,” said Christina Jones, Victoria co-ordinator of Girls Learning Code. “That’s a good percentage of the country.”

Grade 5 student Anjulie Djearam joined the workshop after her dad noticed a flyer for it on the bulletin board. She said her brother taught her a little about HTML and CSS, and she watched him make a website before the workshop.

“At first, it was kind of confusing to make all the different codes and to put the opening text to make a paragraph, but once you get used to it, it’s really easy,” she said.

Similarly, Grade 2 student Natalie Beilin signed up with her sister, who had attended two other Girls Learning Code workshops and inspired her to try it herself.

“Mine was about cute animals and magical creatures – bunnies, pandas, dragons,” said Beilin.

HTML (hypertext markup language), in layman’s terms, is the skeletal structure of a website, while CSS (cascading style sheets) defines the stylistic qualities of a website, such as colours, fonts and backgrounds. The girls used Mozilla Thimble, a lightweight coding platform, to put together their sites.

The latest event is the fourth time the Girls Learning Code workshop has been held at St. Margaret’s. The workshop is run by Ladies Learning Code, a national not-for-profit offering beginner-friendly tech education.

Lauren Hudson, a program support teacher for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, said the workshops have had a positive influence on students. She noted some girls recently asked the school to run another coding session on its certification day, which typically offers courses on such topics as babysitting, first aid and food safety.

“This year, the girls themselves brainstormed and they decided they wanted to offer a coding workshop,” said Hudson. “That’s separate from Girls Learning Code, but I think it’s because of the Girls Learning Code opportunities that the girls are being exposed to computer programming and they’re saying, ‘Hey, I like this.’

“That’s a really good indication that the learning is extending beyond just the events, which is fabulous.”

Jones said a follow-up survey found that 98 per cent of the attendees would take a coding course again, noting the course is a good introduction to technology for young girls.

“It’s a bit unique in the way it delivers the content,” said Jones. “Ladies Learning Code and Girls Learning Code is very social and collaborative – we try very hard to make sure the girls have somebody sitting close to them who can talk to them and walk them through stuff.”

Not only do the mentors provide help and guidance in building and designing websites, but Jones said they also serve as role models and show girls that they can have careers in technological fields.

 

“That’s the whole mandate behind Girls Learning Code, to normalize women in technology and to make it more accessible,” said Jones.

 

 

Just Posted

Saanich Volunteer Services Society volunteers head out to deliver this week’s meals to local seniors. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
VIDEO: Weekly meal deliveries help brighten the day for Saanich seniors

Seniors are delivered nutritional meals by a group of volunteers every Wednesday

O.K. Industries is building a quarry next to Capital Regional District land, as shown in this map from the rezoning applicaiton. (Photo courtesy District of Highlands)
Millstream Quarry wins again in court against Highlands community’s appeal

Judges rule province not obligated to investigate climate change before issuing permit

Kidspace, which took over the YMCA-YWCA childcare centre at Eagle Creek Village, plans to reopen the Y’s fitness centre as the Eagle Creek Athletic Club in September. (Photo courtesy of Kidpsace)
Former Y fitness centre in View Royal aims to reopen in September

Kidspace taking over both the gym and the childcare facility at Eagle Creek Village

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Vancouver Island lottery players win $1 million and $500,000 in Lotto Max draw

$1 million ticket sold in Campbell River, $500,000 ticket sold in Nanaimo

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Most Read