I spent the past 7 weeks teaching middle school girls to build websites as part of an after school program, CodeEd.
We didn’t teach anything too fancy, just basic HTML. Our goal was to introduce girls to the wonderful world of programming and technology and dispell some common myths: programming isn’t scary or impossibly hard, and programming can be creative and expressive.
We took a project-based approach: the girls spent their time building a site on any topic their heart desired, which this semester, turned out to be music, fashion, cats and Sims FreePlay.
Here’s what surprised me:
1. helloworld.html BLOWS THEIR MIND (creating an html file with a silly sentence and then seeing it in their browser). I think the realization is twofold: “whoa the internet is actually just made by people writing text in files”, and “whoa, this is something that I can do”. One girl immediately exclaimed,”Oh I’m going to show my mom that. She won’t believe it.”