I often tell the story about how, when I was a teen, I was interested in learning more about computer science. This was back in the 80s and as only two females enrolled in the course we were often glanced over. I can recall people saying “why would you want to do that?” Even the instructor wasn’t even interested in teaching us. It wasn’t exactly encouraging but I fumbled through it. If only I had stuck through it. Back then we didn’t even know where technology was headed. I was just curious. Of course, today is a very different story and girls are more than just welcomed — they are making some serious strides. Coding is a language that touches all aspects of our lives and there’s no limit to what it can do.
It’s never too early or late to pick up some coding skills and Computer Science Education Week (December 7 to 13) is a great time to explore what’s out there! The annual week is a call to action to inspire kids from kindergarten to grade 12 to learn more about computer science, advocate for equity in education, as well as celebrate the contributions of everyone involved. Here are some great ways to mark the week…
Apple Coding App (FREE): Grab your iPad or Mac and download Apple’s free coding app, Swift Playgrounds on the App Store, and makes learning and experimenting with code interactive and fun through puzzles to master the basics using Swift — a powerful programming language created by Apple and used in many of today’s most popular apps.
Swift Playground Quick Start Guide To Code: offers 10 easy lessons to jump into coding. Ideal for beginners ages 10 and up. After mastering Quick Start Guide, download Everyone Can Code Puzzles in Apple Books to go further with Swift Playgrounds and explore coding concepts. It’s a perfect step up to build on what’s learnt from the 10 lessons above.
Start a Swift Coding Club: this resource to enjoy after school, during lunch, or during the holidays to solve problems and work with others in creative ways. You don’t have to be teacher or coding expert to run this club: the materials here are self-paced, so you can even learn alongside friends.
Develop in Swift: For older students, these resources are a collection of lessons geared toward high school and post second school students, teaching both Swift and Xcode on Mac to new and experienced coders. Develop in Swift Data Collections is the latest resource building off what students learned in prior lesson books.
Today at Apple: If you’re looking for something creative to do for the holidays, I highly recommend checking out what’s happening at Today at Apple. I’ve attended a few of their workshops to learn some amazing tips and tricks – see all those Instagram snazzy video clips people are creating? Yah, you can learn them too (FREE)! It was this time last year that I first tried creating them and uploaded a few onto my social media. It’s wild how popular they are now. You can see what’s available, including Festival Family Portraits, at-home how-to videos by their creative pros.
GIRLS WHO CODE: is an international non-profit organization who’s mission is to close the gender gap in technology by teaching girls computer science, bravery and sisterhood. With locations across Canada, the organization offers clubs, summer internships, as well as free computer science activities to do at home – both offline and online. Activities cater to varying experience levels. Each activity features women who are considered pioneers in technology.
Canada Learning Code: delivers technology education for people who want to learn, teach or volunteer. Their mission is to help ensure that Canadians – particularly women, girls, people with disabilities, Indigenous youth and newcomers have access to the knowledge they need in the digital world. During Computer Science Week, interested individuals can sign up for programs such as Digital Citizenship: Safety Online. Participants receive free resources to help bring computer science learning into the home or classroom virtually.