Jayna Weatherly

Students dive into coding during special class in Botha

Students at Botha Public School had a chance to dive into the world of computer programming when the Ladies Learning Code program came...

Students at Botha Public School had a chance to dive into the world of computer programming when the Ladies Learning Code program came to the school on Friday, Sept. 2.

Ladies Learning Code started in the Toronto, Ont. area as an organization designed to help encourage women and girls learn coding skills, whether it is in computer programming or web design. With a shortage, traditionally, of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields, the group quickly found traction.

Now, some of the ladies who learned coding through the program travel across Canada to bring the joy of coding not just to girls, but to students in general. Three of them were in Botha for just one day, last Friday— Nat Cooper, Tess Kuramoto, and Vanessa Doucet-Roche.

“They are definitely used to larger schools,” Mike Flieger, principal at Botha Public School, said. “We were the second smallest.”

He said the smallest class the ladies taught was one on the east coast, to a group of six students.

Being a small school comes with a bit of a stigma when it comes to technology, as many urban-minded individuals expect the education system to be a bit more rustic.

“I think they were a bit surprised at how advanced our students were,” Flieger admitted.

Doucet-Roche said there’s “a million reasons” why the organization, which was founded in 2011, started the “Code Mobile.”

“Technology is becoming so important in our lives,” she explained. “We wanted our youth to be technology builders, not just technology consumers.”

Students in grades 1 and 2 made interactive art, using underlying code to change the images when the viewer interacted with certain parts of the image on screen. The older classes, grades 3-6, made maze games that pitted players against the twisting, turning, and dead-ending paths in a quest to find the way to the prize.

“It went very well,” Flieger said. “It was fun for the kids. The little ones were really impressive, and our older kids got right into it.”

The Ladies now head across Saskatchewan and Manitoba for their next coding gig in Thunder Bay.

“Canada is huge,” Doucet-Roche said. “I always wanted to see it all, but I never expected to see it all in one go. And there’s definitely more driving involved than you think.”

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