RES.2-005 | Spring 2015 | High School

Girls Who Build: Make Your Own Wearables Workshop

Instructor Insights

Supporting Girls with Different Levels of Coding Experience

In this section, Kristen Railey shares her insights about supporting workshop participants with different background experiences in coding.

We had about 50 girls in the workshop. Fortunately, about half of the girls had some experience with programming prior to the workshop. Massachusetts seems to be ahead of the game in terms of encouraging STEM education. But even with this background, many girls didn’t have experience with other things like computer-aided design and 3D printing. It was really a mixed crowd.

"[W]e’re hoping to incorporate support and challenge opportunities into future iterations of the workshop."
—Kristen Railey

The girls’ diverse background experiences made facilitating the coding portion of the workshop challenging, because some girls had never coded before, while others had. What helped in this situation was having a lot of volunteers to support the girls as they worked. I had about 10 volunteers with coding and electronics experience, and because the girls worked in pairs, this seemed to be enough people to provide them with help.

Something we didn’t do during this workshop session, that we could have done, was to have participants who finished early help the girls who hadn’t yet completed their coding. We had the volunteers circulating around the room, but I think it would have been interesting to have the girls work together to problem-solve.

To better meet the needs of participants with diverse background experiences, we’re hoping to incorporate support and challenge opportunities into future iterations of the workshop. For girls with limited coding experience, the plan is to modularize the coding exercises so that beginners encounter small victories along the way to final project. We’re thinking about providing more advanced participants an opportunity to play with variables in the different projects.

Learning Resource Types
Image Gallery
Tutorial Videos
Activity Assignments
Lecture Notes
Instructor Insights