Monday, April 22, 2013

Girl Scouts Offer New Coding Badge

Starfleet Engineering Insignia
I hope this is the new badge!
The Girl Scouts have a gaming and coding badge! I am thrilled with the Girl Scouts lately - their leadership is forward-thinking and politically and socially inclusive. As our society becomes more diverse, we need our organizations for youth to embrace that inclusiveness as well. That extends to affording young people the same opportunities regardless of gender. What I am excited about today is the story in Salon by Katie McDonough: "Girl Scouts Introduce Game Design and Coding Curriculum." The Girl Scouts have partnered with Gamestar Mechanic. If you are not familiar with them they are "a game and community designed to teach kids the principles of game design and systems thinking in a highly engaging environment. It is designed for 7- to 14-year-olds but is open to everyone." They teach kids how to design and create games, and code. And just as importantly, they are teaching the students in a collaborative community which is the workplace of the future (and today for the most part). Teaching students how to learn in networks is just as important as what they are learning (see Connectivism). There are a lot of good reasons to learn programming. Programming is the language of the network - understanding how webpages and databases talk to one another, how all of the technology interacts with one another and us (your phone, TV, internet, computers, etc.) is important in understanding what those systems are doing with our information and identities. Being comfortable and knowledgeable about technology shouldn't be left to men or "techies" - we all have a stake in this. I think tech literacy is as important as financial literacy or know how your government is supposed to work. There are opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math that are missed because things like programming are not promoted to women. Programming is a literacy - I once took a logic class at Sonoma State that was taught using programming. This class argued for a connection between programming, language, and symbolic logic. I had fooled around with programming before but never in a really serious way: all of my programming had to do with making and altering games (usually in BASIC). Programming has helped me work on creative projects and work. I can fix problems in webpages and minor scripting. I also know, for the most part, when a vendor is gas-lighting me on a project or a problem. The long and the short of it is that I am not afraid to look under the hood and get my hands dirty. Even the mayor of New York has gone to Code Academy!


I wonder if this means that the Girl Scouts will also be selling Redbull and Skittles?

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