Girls in the Oshkosh Area School District completed their first Girls Who Code experience at South Park Middle School. Fourteen female students from ALPS/Tipler, Traeger, and South Park Middle School met for an hour after school weekly from October through February. Students initially learned to code and experimented with Scratch, Quorum, Codesters, and EarSketch, and other coding applications. After becoming more familiar with coding, co-facilitators Trish Curry from J.J. Keller and Kathleen Stephany from Oshkosh Area School District helped the students pick a topic for their impact project.
Students finally decided that their focus was to be on helping animals. We used club funds from a Girls Who Code $300 grant to take a field trip to the Oshkosh Area Humane Society. Additional funds were spent on snacks and T-shirts for the students.
Students brainstormed games and ideas about ways to care for animals. Then they divided up into groups and chose a project that they would like to tackle. One group made a name quiz to suggest pet names. Two groups used Scratch to make games for dogs to eat the healthy treat. Students made a website and linked to the Oshkosh Area Humane Society. Two groups made digital art with animal profiles. As they worked on their projects, they had to make decisions and troubleshoot as needed. Occasionally, they would consult with a facilitator if they were confused.
Throughout the coding, students perspective on coding changed. All expressed interest in participating in Girls Who Code in the future. Ninety-two percent of students plan to take computer science classes in high school. Seventy percent also expressed post secondary plans; the other 30% were undecided. Here are a few quotes from the students regarding the experience:
“I have a new respect for coding.”
“I feel like I learned life skills.”
“It opened up my view of coding.”
“I now understand different types of jobs that coding is involved in.”
To explore the website with the student projects please visit: https://sp-girlswhocode.jimdo.com/. To learn more about Girls Who Code visit: https://girlswhocode.com/about-us/. If you have interest in helping with the program in the future, please contact Kathleen Stephany (Technology Integrator with Oshkosh Area School District) at [email protected].