Chloe is a grade 12 high school student and has been a Ladies Learning Code Teen Club member since October 2015. She is interested in studying Computer Science in university and is passionate about technology and media. Through Teen Club, she has participated in many coding workshops, hackathons, networking and mentorship opportunities. Chloe is currently a Teen Club Ambassador.
This summer, I had the awesome opportunity to work with Ladies Learning Code’s Code Mobile initiative as part of my cooperative education. Being a part of the community for two years as a Mentor and Teen Club Ambassador, I am so grateful that I got to be a part of this initiative and experience a new way of teaching. Over six weeks, I got to teach kids across Ontario how to code with Scratch, develop new skills, and hone old ones along the way.
Now you may be wondering… What is the Code Mobile?
The Code Mobile aims to inspire and educate people to become passionate builders of technology. It is basically a computer lab on wheels—and the first coding truck in Canada! It’s so green and flashy; we definitely stand out on the highway, and people can easily spot us!
— Julie Smithson (@juliesmithso) July 14, 2017
The Code Mobile gives us the opportunity to visit communities and organizations to teach them how to code.
Alongside me in this project was the Code Mobile Manager, Ariane. Together, as a power-duo, we organized, collaborated, and took turns teaching the workshops. I truly appreciate her support and energy this entire summer. We bonded in our long trips and during our breaks by visiting cafés and walking around cities that we have never been to, like Paris, Ontario! This experience wouldn’t have been awesome without her.
A Summer of Learning
During the first few weeks, it was challenging to balance my schedule with the Code Mobile, a part-time job, summer school e-learning, and other summer activities. It was especially difficult having to wake up really early for long trips. However, I looked at it as a way for me to practice my time-management and organization skills. I found that I liked to set a list of to-do’s in the morning and making sure that I completed them by the end of the day.
I also learned that the Code Mobile was very different from mentoring in camps and workshops. In camps, everything is prepared in one location, and we get to mentor the same children for the whole week. In the Code Mobile, we have to set up laptops and chargers in every workshop, teach kids how to code in 3-4 hours, visit cities we have never been to, and best of all, meet new people every day. As a person who likes to travel and explore new things, I really enjoyed this experience!
Each trip and workshop was a new day for me. I got to teach many groups, from summer camps to community centers; from Newcomers in Canada to Indigenous youth. This teaching experience has allowed me to realize three things:
Language can be a Communication Barrier
Teaching newcomers in Canada made me realize the language barrier we faced during our workshops. I learned that it is important to value learning other languages and how it’s a useful tool, especially in situations like these. At first, we had trouble trying to connect with the children to understand the material. Luckily, we had awesome mentors who were able to translate for the children—and they really enjoyed it!
It’s important to bring and share learning opportunities to communities that don’t have it.
Seeing the children’s faces light up when they put on a Virtual Reality headset from our booth, or when they connect their Makey Makey’s on the computer to make music was one of the main things that kept me going throughout this summer working with the Code Mobile. Often, they come up asking for another workshop or to even stay longer! It makes me happy that this project exists for us to bring coding education opportunities to communities that don’t have access to them.
Coding will not be everyone’s forté
As we visited every workshop, my confidence in teaching kept growing. I remember being nervous teaching my first workshop. I was worried and kept questioning “Will they enjoy this workshop?” “Will they understand what we are teaching?” In the end, there were kids who really looked forward to code more at home, as well as kids who showed no interest—but that’s okay! I learnt that coding will not be everyone’s forté but it is worth learning about it especially at a young age with our fast-paced, growing, innovative society today.
As summer comes to an end and school is coming close—especially going into my senior year‚ I have to start planning and filling up applications and scholarships for university. I plan to study Computer Science in university. Overall, the Code Mobile has been the highlight of my summer and has taught me many enriching things. I would be happy to do it again. Seeing children excited after a workshop, and looking forward to coding more once they get home gives me energy and excitement to continue teaching.
I’d like to thank the Ladies Learning Code team and my cooperative teacher for making this a valuable experience this summer.
To learn more and book a Code Mobile visit check out codemobile.rocks!