Guest post by Jacqueline Currie, The Curiosity Hub
I organised an event in Brighton, UK on Saturday 11th October called ‘Girls Get Digital! (Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day)’. The event was sponsored by American Express and equipment and activities provided by my not-for-profit company Curiosity Hub. We also had a number of volunteers helping out (including 6 American Express employees). We had over 55 girls attend in total, aged from 6 to 12, with their parents. We ran 5 one-hour sessions (with 8-16 girls in each) with Lego robotics (WeDo and Mindstorms EV3), creating a computer game with Scratch, website development with HTML and stop-motion animation with SAM animation.
At the start of each workshop I gave a short introduction to Ada Lovelace Day, STEAM in everyday life and pictures of women in computing careers. You can see some photos from the event here. I also gave a short talk about Ada Lovelace at Codebar Brighton on the 14th October – Codebar encourages diversity in tech through free mentoring and 1:1 coding workshops for adults.
I asked parents to fill out an online survey after the Saturday event; there are some great quotes from the survey and from other emails I received:
What were the best things about this event?
My daughter: “That you got to make new friends as your partners” Me: That it made STEAM careers seem like a viable choice for girls – not unusual, just presented as an option.
Wonderful helpful staff… so enthusiastic and informative.
Well planned event, enthusiastic and friendly helpers, great way to increase girls’ confidence in a traditionally male orientated domain!
Friendly helpful staff. Great learning atmosphere.
Gives girls the opportunity to try things in a stress-free environment.
Providing a supportive environment in which children can learn, try new things and expand their horizons.
Many volunteers available to help every child. Very well organised. Educational as well as fun.
Children allowed to independently design, create and enjoy the animation for themselves, without adult direction or parental involvement. Great to see my daughter in action.
The way this opened my daughter’s eyes on what is possible using the computer.
Location, day and time, friendly and lots of help, only girls of similar age.
It has been great to see my daughter grow in confidence, as her ability is high, but she allows herself to sit back, so this has been really good for her.
Thanks, this was a really good opportunity. I think there was something different about the buzz of the all girls event too (although would be v happy to attend a mixed event).
Perfect in every way! Thank you so much xx (especially as my daughter has additional needs and she still thrived in this environment!).
Cleo had an amazing time- thank you!
Keep on doing what you are doing and well done!
We thoroughly enjoyed the workshop.
Thank you. We appreciate the free taster session and really enjoyed it.
Keep up the good work! It was great that the day’s events were free!
Just a quick thanks for the session – Ella loved it and learned a lot (without realising it) – so thanks for putting on the workshop for free.
Maddie and her friends very much enjoyed experimenting with the Mindstorm robots.
Thank you so much for organising this event. Hannah really loved it, and she got loads out of it.
I love that Ada Lovelace Day really helps in promoting the idea that women working in STEAM should not seem weird or unusual, but recognises that it is currently uncommon, and so celebrates women’s achievements and focuses on practical events to help reverse that.