Coder Girl Hack Day
Coder Girl Hack Day. Image: Kevin J Fraser

Coder Girl Hack Day: Grassroots meets multinational for event

5 Oct 2016

A coming together of grassroots learning groups in Ireland and multinational companies working throughout the country is making for a fine Coder Girl Hack Day this year.

Hosted at Dogpatch Labs on 15 October, Coder Girl Hack Day will see workshops provided for those aged 10-17, with additional projects to encourage parents to get involved, too.

Coder Girl Hack Day

Future Human

CoderDojo Girls, Coding Grace, Tog Hackerspace and University of Limerick will welcome GitLab, Movidius, Intel and Python Software Foundation to help put on the show that runs during the very successful initiative, EU Code Week.

The presence of family members and role models has been widely acknowledged as something positive in children’s learning experiences, hence Coder Girl Hack Day will encourage parents to get involved as well.

Coding Grace, led by Vicky Twomey-Lee, will provide a Python workshop for the adults attending the event, giving parents and teachers “a chance to be curious in the world of learning Python”.

“Even the adults can have some fun learning to code,” she said.

Intel will be there to support Tog’s activities, helping the organisation build a maker workshop, with the company’s communications manager Sarah Sexton “delighted” to be involved.

“We strongly believe that in order to shape the future of technology, we must be representative of that future and a big part of that is ensuring that girls have the opportunity to experience technology in a hands-on way,” she said.

By experiencing what it is to code, design, and build, girls gain an insight into the exciting opportunities available to those graduating from third-level courses in technology and engineering. Hands-on activities have proven to result in an increase in girls’ interest in these fields.

“Today, computer programmers are expected to be male, nerdy and antisocial,” said Mary Finegan, VP of programme management at Movidius. “[It’s] an odd, and self-fulfilling prophecy that forgets the women that the entire field was built upon.

“We in Movidius feel that this Coder Girls Hack Day is an excellent initiative to encourage more balance in this very ‘male’ leaning industry.

“It is our hope that the day will give girls insights into the profession, remove the mystery and ‘nerdy’ undertones and showcase a sector that is highly creative, dynamic and offers excellent career opportunities and satisfaction.”

Inspirefest will be there, hosting an ambition wall for children to visualise who it is they wish to be in future, and CEO Ann O’Dea will also speak at the event.

Learning sessions that include designing light-up wearable jewellery that incorporates coding, creating a website around a personal style, discovering how to code with python, and even building an interacting laser cut-maker creation with Tog; the latter of which we had a sneaky look at recently.

“Tog Hackerspace is delighted to be a part of Coder Girl Hack Day again. We see the event as a vital part of our outreach program in bringing hackerspace style learning to all,” said Jeffrey Roe, CEO of Tog.

Gordon Hunt
By Gordon Hunt

Gordon Hunt joined Silicon Republic in October 2014 as a journalist. He spends most of his time avoiding conversations about music, appreciating even the least creative pun and rueing the day he panicked when meeting Paul McGrath. His favourite thing on the internet is the ‘Random Article’ link on Wikipedia.

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