Even though there are some fabulous resources available for learning to program at primary school, none of them are focused on getting girls into coding. The Made with Code project from Google aims to change this by getting girls excited about learning to code and helping to close the gender gap in the tech industry. The site aims to show young girls that the things they love are made with code and that the skills that they learn when coding can be applied to their own passions.
Google is investing $50 million into this program over the next three years and the website offers resources and projects for girls to learn how to code. The projects use simple block building, in a similar way to Scratch, to create finished programs. They include making an animated yeti dance, lighting up an LED dress, creating an avatar and accessorising. In these days of gender neutrality, Google have made a brave move creating a pink coding website specifically for girls, but the wording is very carefully chosen and the whole experience has been tastefully done.
All the projects on the site use Blockly which is a coding app developed by Google. The guided instructions are clear and simple to follow and the coding itself is not too taxing. The site is nicely designed and will hopefully inspire girls to get interested in coding. When they're ready to, I'd recommend moving them onto Scratch where they can get a better understanding of the underlying code used to create a project. You can do this by giving them Scratch tutorials to follow or letting them have a look at some girl friendly projects that have been developed in Scratch.
Although the site is a little simplistic, I personally think its great and anything that helps get girls coding and using computational thinking is important. Girls start out with a love of science and technology, but lose it somewhere along the way. Let’s help encourage that passion in girls. Even if you're not comfortable coding, remember that you don't have to know how to code yourself in order to encourage someone else to code.