Coding 101 during Summer 2016
Members of the ArabWIC Qatar Chapter joined to lead the summer program for 50 female students between the ages of 8-17, in partnership with the Qatar Scientific Club, over four weeks from July 17 to August 11, 2016.
Three different levels of workshops were conducted for each age group, to teach basics of coding, application and web design, and introduction to digital technologies.
For the younger students (8-13 years old), we taught programming concepts using social activities from CS-Unplugged online materials, and through simple drag-and-drop coding from Code.org tutorials. At the same time, many group activities were held to demonstrate concepts like loops in programming, and encouraged the student’s pair program.
On the other hand, for the older students, (14-17) we focused on building web and mobile Apps as it was extremely rewarding for them to see their own business app demo up and running! We also had the opportunity to enlighten the group with tech talks, on online privacy, and how the internet works, topics which are not usually covered at school.
Here’s what our mentors had to say about their individual experiences:
“I believe we were able to change the students’ perspective of Computer Science from a complicated unreachable career path for girls, to a fun, rewarding and potential career option.”
“Had a wonderful time working with such a lovely group of girls. I never imagined teaching young girls due to my habit of talking fast, but I was super happy after spending my time with them. This experience made me learn and realize that young Qatari girls have real passion for technology. I see great future for my genius students especially at this age with such a fast pace of grasping knowledge.”
“The programme gave us an opportunity to contribute and clear the misconception that Computer Science is not only about animation and robotics; it is a branch of engineering by itself, engineering how to solve problems and studying about technology. I feel good that I have introduced computer science to the young generation of girls in Qatar, as Computer Science these days is no longer just a career path, but a mandatory skill which every student must be exposed to. Overall it was an amazing experience.”
“It is a delight to interact with girls who are excited about the small details of scientific concepts, logic and programming. One of my favorite interaction was when students asked how they could access tools from home, which we used in class.
I also enjoyed coming up with offline activities that could demonstrate simple programming concepts to the students. My experience with teaching at the Qatar Scientific Club was not only pleasant, but interesting and educational too.”
“It feels amazing empowering young kids with even the limited knowledge you have sometimes. Being able to contribute to someone’s education this way is a great feeling which I believe everyone should experience once in their lifetime.”
“It was quite rewarding to see and recognize the potential in many students, and realize the impact, of how teaching could inspire young kids to take up programming. One of my most memorable experience would be with respect to one kid, who was not initially interested in programming and had joined the program just for fun. Later, it turned out she was one of the brightest kids in the class, but still not fully convinced to learn or take the workshops seriously. Eventually, when I started describing her about how widespread technology is and what she could pursue in the different fields she was interested in, then she became very enthusiastic. At the end of the Programme, she surprisingly approached me requesting how she could become a member of ArabWIC and get involved!”
The QSC administrators were extremely pleased with the first successful collaboration with ArabWIC Qatar and we plan to continue working together in the long term to foster and promote a strong tech community in the country.