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Tech Educator Says Girls Approach Learning How to Code Differently

Experts Offer Three Strategies to Teach Girls How to Code

Computer science courses have become more popular recently and learning how to code is trendy. Encouraging young women to learn how to code has become a focus for some educators and advocates. 

Douglas Kiang, computer science teacher at Punahou School in Hawaii, said that "when it comes to learning how to code, girls approach it differently than boys," according to an article on In this article, writer Kanoe Namahoe shared three strategies Douglas and his wife, Mary, recently shared with teachers at the 2015 SXSWedu Conference and Festival.

According to Douglas, "girls want to work on projects that are meaningful. They’re driven by altruism."

“They want to know what the good is first,” he said, according to the article. “They want to help others.”

The first tip offered is to "redefine the traditional approach."

"We teach programming backwards,” Douglas said, according to the article. “We start at the smallest bit and work our way up.”

Instead, the post said, "he encourages teachers to start with what kids already know: apps. Find out what apps students use regularly and then drill down to find out why they’re easy to use. Take screenshots of different apps and have students identify common interface features, like the 'Back' button. Look also at how information is organized. Get students to think and discuss all these different elements."

The second tip was to "increase coding literacy."

Remember the three Rs of literacy: reading, writing and arithmetic? In coding, it’s the three Ms: 'modding,' making and algorithms," the article said. 'Modding' is similar to learning to read—it includes learning to read professionally written examples of code. Students may not understand everything they see, but if they’re 'modding' [modifying] the code, they’re learning to modify elements in it. Next, students learn to write code. And if they want to explore further, they look into algorithms and the relative efficiency of algorithms.

“The more we give basic literacy of code, the more we understand how things work," Douglas said. "We understand how to be makers, we understand how to use code to create interactive props or artwork and the more successful we will be.”

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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