St. Margaret's School student Sophie Chu shows off the Computer Coding website she built.

Camp encourages girls to explore world of coding

When talking about coding, a huge smile breaks out on 10-year-old Sophie Chu's face.

When talking about coding, a huge smile breaks out on 10-year-old Sophie Chu’s face.

The Grade 4 St. Margaret’s School student has been following in the footsteps of her dad, who is a computer programmer, as of late. Over the past few months, Chu has been building a website to teach people of all ages about computer coding.

The website, called Computer Coding, includes information about various coding programs such as Python, Ruby, Objective C, JavaScript and Perl, and how difficult or easy it is to use.

Chu started the class project a few months ago after taking a coding workshop at the school, called maker camp, where girls learned how to use a makey makey board to play games, learned arduino coding and used it to create a white and red LED light show.

“It was really interesting and fun,” Chu said, adding her father taught her how to use another coding program to draw pictures on a computer as well.

“I just enjoy it. It’s like a different language for me. I can use it to create different things and learn more about it.”

The workshop inspired Chu to venture deeper into the coding world, starting with her own website. Every week for the past two months, Chu has been slowly creating the site, using Wix and building off a basic template. Despite the fact that it took longer to build than she originally anticipated, Chu is proud of her finished product.

“I thought (a website) would be the easiest way to share coding with the world. I wanted to not just share it with the class, but with more people,” said Chu, adding she hopes to make more apps and websites about coding in the future.

Chu is one of dozens of girls who will be taking part in a new all-girls coding summer camp at the school next month.

Codemakers CoderGirl, is a partnership between St. Margaret’s School, Science Venture from the University of Victoria and Girls Learning Code, a youth arm of Ladies Learning Code, a national non-profit group dedicated to teaching women and girls computer engineering skills.

As part of the summer camp, girls in grade three to six will learn about the world of code, build computer and computational thinking skills. Girls will also design games, build robots, create apps and do 3D modelling.

St. Margaret’s School has offered coding workshops for girls in the past, but this will be the first summer girls coding camp.

Lauren Hudson, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program support teacher, said the camp, which runs from July 4 to 8 and July 11 to 15, is already full with 40 girls from around Greater Victoria excited to start.

“Exposure to what computer science is, is the key. We don’t want to force things on students, we want them to follow their own passions because that’s how they’ll be the best and most productive members of society, but they need to know it’s out there,” Hudson said, adding the people teaching the girls are already working in the industry. “It’s important that we equip people with the knowledge and skills to be creators of technology, not just consumers.”

For more information about the camp visit stmarg.cagirls-summer-camp. To see Chu’s website on coding visit computercoding.wix.com/coding.