Girls Who Code

Computers are not going away, therefore, computer programming jobs are not going away. Currently there are 586,982 open computing jobs nationwide. These jobs are growing at two times the national average. 57% of all bachelor’s degrees are earned by women. Narrow the field to computer science and only 12% of those degrees are awarded to women. We need to even that playing field.

Senior VP at Google, Susan Wojcicki is quoted saying, “Learning to code makes kids feel empowered, creative, and confident. If we want our young women to retain these traits into adulthood, a great option is to expose them to computer programming in their youth.” YES! Agreed on all accounts.

How? As a mother of 4 and 7-year-old daughters, Anna and Elsa gets them every time. As an educator, I might use someone like Karlie Kloss (model and entrepreneur) and Made with Code to spark some interest. As an instructional technology consultant, I would suggest finding an avenue such as an after/before school coding club for girls similar to what Barrington High.

Whatever route you find the most appropriate for your situation, remember “Learning to code is useful no matter what your career ambitions are.” (Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post). It teaches you how to think. It’s hard to argue that that’s not a necessary job requirement!


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Fame Thanks to Facebook

Ok, so I’m not going to be completely famous but I will be featured in a national aired commercial come January, meet and work with a celebrity and be picked up by a chauffeur (he/she will even have my name on a card!) at LAX tomorrow morning…this is a domino effect that started with a Facebook post a few months ago.

Back Story: I have always been overweight – size 16 when I graduated high school, size 18 when I married and a size 20 after 2 kiddos. I decided in July of 2013 to lose 25 pounds. I enlisted the help of Atkins (I love meat – low carb appealed to me). Fast forward to now, I’ve lost and kept off 108 pounds for over a PicMonkey Collageyear. Once I adopted the Atkins “lifestyle” (I hate the word diet and I will eat this way for the rest of my life), there was no going back. It was for me – I have more energy, I feel good, and I actually attempted to jog which has turned into a 15 mile a week addiction. I don’t want to say it was easy but it was easier than I originally thought it would, hence going past the 25-pound goal. A couple of months ago the Atkins Facebook Page advertised for success stories/before-after pictures (there was a drawing of some sort). I took 3 minutes out of my day, posted my pics/story, checked back a week later and found out I didn’t win the drawing. Oh well. Those things don’t happen to regular people anyway, right?!

About three weeks ago, I received an email from a marketing coordinator at Atkins inquiring on my story they had read on Facebook. I called them back and found out that they were interested in possibly shooting me in a commercial. No joke! We set up a Skype interview for the next week with the head honcho andI went about my business. I figured it was a long shot, they mentioned there were several interviews and they would choose 3 people. I thought I was lucky just to be asked for an interview.  Long story, short: They picked me!  I will be on a plane to California tomorrow morning – clothes fittings, interviews, car service, and a commercial shoot during the remainder of the week.  All started from a quick post on social media.

If you’re still reading, having endured all my selfish fame talk, I ask one thing of you: if you are faced with a parent, a teacher, an administrator, ANYONE that brushes off the power of social media (in the classroom or not) – please share my story. Imagine how a couple clicks of the mouse could transform someone else? Good or bad…



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Ad HoC

Leslie Pralle-Keehn and I have been working on a 6-week blog series leading up to the Hour of Code in December. Here is the second installment recently published on our team page RethinkRedesign:

This week we would like to share some awesome resources for the upcoming Hour of Code during Computer Science week, December 7th-13th. Hopefully, you have heard of Hour of Code (HoC), want to be involved and have started planning your specific event(s) at your school/community. As of today there are 97,227 events planned in 180+ countries. To say least, there are a lot of online resources available. We would like to help your planning process as you are sifting through the vast world wide web. Below are age-specific resources you might want to consider with a couple of notables:   

PreschoolBotLogic, web-based and geared for very young users, web-based, full curriculum available

1stScratchJr, app available on iTunes or Google play

2ndDiscovery Education, free samples and paid version

3rdHopscotch, app available on iTunes, make your own games

4thBlockly, series of games, when finished, players are ready to use conventional text-based languages

5thScratch, create interactive games and stories and share online

6thSnap!, build-your-own-blocks feature

7thStarwars, Build the galaxy with JavaScript

8thComputerCraftEDU, programmable turtle robots to Minecraft

9thKhan Academy – HTLM/CSS Webpages, (webpage creation inspired)

10thCodecademy, (multiple interest inspired)

11thTinkercad, (3D-printing inspired)

12thSonic Pi (music inspired)

Obviously there are TONS more out there…the above are ones we have either had personal experience with or seen/heard awesome student success stories. We would like to invite you to comment below with any additional “must have’s” that are missing. Our list is ever-evolving and we are all about: #makeitbetter !

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