I heard about a cool thing called CodeClubNZ and just had to go along. I had a great afternoon talking with kids and helping them with their python projects. It really got me thinking!
by Rhiannon Fletcher-Gallop
Join in and encourage our youth to be excited and passionate about the world of tech. Not every child has access to tech role models, let’s do something to change that.
We need more people to talk to our kids and foster their passion for tech. It’s as showing up and listening, sharing their passion and validating their interest! Sign up and Read More at CodeClub NZ
I was recently at a conference where I met a friendly local software engineer. He’s a parent, and he runs a Code Club at his daughter’s school.
I explained how I was discouraged from entering the IT industry by my teachers and peers, as they thought it’s a man’s world and it would be hard to be successful.
He worried that while initiatives exist to bring more women into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), the girls don’t see enough inspiring females. Initiatives are too often run by men like himself. I volunteered to show the girls in his club that there are friendly female faces in the tech sector.
My History in STEM
I have always enjoyed learning, and from a young age I showed an aptitude for Maths, and Science. I come from a family of Engineers, Programmers and Scientists. My father is a space science programmer, my mother is a science and maths teacher. On both sides of my family I have engineers. I have a cousin who works at CERN, and another created amazing hardware. Everywhere I look, I have smart and technical people that I look up to and who share my interests in all things nerdy.
So when people discouraged me from entering the world of Engineering and Computer Science, I didn’t listen. With support from so many members of my family, discouragement didn’t matter. That and I’m a little stubborn.
But this isn’t the case for everyone. And that’s why CodeClubNZ sparks joy inside me. If I had something like that available when I was younger, I would have jumped on it.
What Does a Code Club Offer?
The benefits of Code Club are numerous, children can learn technical skills, technical people can give back to the community, and teachers can have a break whilst we’re working with their kids.
We are showing kids that adults share their interests, and this is invaluable to them as small humans. Growing up, you need someone you can look up to, someone that reflects your interests, if only to give you the courage to continue. When you see an adult who does what you want to do, you get two things; a role model and confirmation that what you enjoy is something valid.
Validation is important; it says that what they’re doing isn’t some stupid nerdy interest, but something amazing, to be enjoyed and cherished. That it’s something they should pursue.
What Should I Do?
Not all kids have people around them to provide validation and to show that their interests can be followed in their adult lives. We need more technical people to get involved with our youth.
It’s an age old tale, there is plenty of verbal encouragement and support for initiatives like CodeClubNZ. But we need bodies in classrooms. There are many different clubs and groups. Find one near you. Do something.
Different perspectives are vital to innovation and diversity of thinking in technology. We must expend effort to ensure kids with passion for technology get an abundance of encouragement and support.