Research has shown that by eighth grade, twice as many boys as girls demonstrate an interest in science, engineering or technology.In addition to CodeEd during the academic year, Aim High provides students with opportunities to explore technology during the summer. CS First, Google’s technology-access program, is offered as an afternoon activity at most campuses, as is Code.org. The feedback that CodeEd has received by Aim High students and families is positive. While spending a Saturday morning writing code might seem intimidating, students are pleasantly surprised with the experience. “When my parents signed me up for this, I was like, ‘Oh no, not more school! But now I’m really glad they did, because I like it a lot,’” said Kelly, a participant whose website you can visit here. “Coding is so fun!”
Forget sleeping in on a Saturday morning. Some Aim High students prefer to spend it dabbling in HTML with CodeEd. In its third year of collaboration with CodeEd, a New York-based nonprofit that teaches computer science to under-served girls, Aim High is leveraging this partnership, enabling girls to explore a subject that has been traditionally dominated by men. This year alone, 15 girls have participated, and it has become so popular—all 15 spots filled within 24 hours—that a second cohort is beginning in January. During the first course, students are introduced to the HTML basics and begin building a one-page website. The second course invites students to add more intricate features, such as several pages that link to one another. Students are free to choose the theme of their website, its content, and design. Themes have included an exposé on their best friends, a compilation of their favorite YouTube videos, or a website dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement. At the end of the workshop, students present their creation to classmates, family members and the CodeEd volunteers. CodeEd sessions are fun, lively, and social, with plenty of opportunity to bounce ideas around. “It’s a direct challenge to the all-too-common stereotypes about programmers and engineers being antisocial people who spend most of their time working alone,” said Carey Tan, the Executive Director of CodeEd. “We’re all better off when we experiment and learn together.” CodeEd has proven to be an empowering activity for Aim High girls, providing a space where they can learn to code amongst other girls their age.” Tech jobs have grown exponentially, while the number of women in the field has actually dropped. Carey is acutely aware of the discrepancy and seeks to reverse it. Research has shown that by eighth grade, twice as many boys as girls demonstrate an interest in science, engineering or technology. It is at the same age that girls’ academic confidence begins to slump. “CodeEd is addressing this gap and combating stereotypes by not only showing young girls that they can learn about computer science but also helping them discover why they would want to learn about it in the first place,” said Carey.