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Anchorage Programming Workshop - short presentation for Mini-Maker Faire


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- founded by Becky Boone and me; first workshop was held in March, so we list that as our official start date
- our goal is to empower women (and friends) to learn programming
- any person who identifies as female and wants to learn to program is welcome; a man is also welcome IF he is the guest of a female attendee

Why teach programming?
- computers are everywhere, and knowing how they work is helpful to every job
- many jobs can be made easier by creating programs to do boring, repetitive tasks for you
- more than 1.4 million total new computing-related job openings by 2018 - US Dept of Labor

Why else programming?
- Several workshop attendees showed up without any tech-related career goals. – just wanted to do cool things
- This is an example of a program written in Python that just makes pretty colors show up on your monitor. It’s also not a ridiculously hard project—you can go from knowing no programming at all to writing this in a day, day and a half.

- Some people want to learn to program to make games.
- I’m sure nobody has “recreate Pong” on their to-do list, but it’s a good example, because I built this as part of a recent Coursera course, and it only took me 3 hours or so.
- This is a surprisingly easy project, too.

** I hope you’re convinced that programming is worth teaching and learning **

Why focus on women?
- software built by men will work ... for men, and we pretty much ALL need to use computers; logically, getting more women programming will make the world better
- concrete example: early voice recognition software didn’t recognize female voices. An early video conferencing system used voice recognition to move the camera, to focus on the person who was talking. Great idea, right? Only, because the voice recognition software didn’t “hear” women, the camera never moved when a woman was speaking. “Women were literally invisible.” (Clubhouse)

- A very large study found that 50/50 male/female teams were more creative, experimented more, communicated better, and got more done than other teams.
- Another study found that mixed-gender teams produce IT patents that are cited 26-42% more than homogenous teams.
- Other studies have shown that, if you take a team of your very best male programmers, and you pit that team against a more moderately-skilled team that is also diverse, the diverse teams are consistently higher-performing.

Female-focused environment
- Positive role models of women who are great programmers, who are just learning, etc. - women see themselves in the people around them
- Women are less confident than men in their math and science abilities - even when achieving equally. Even when men and women receive the same grades, women feel less of a sense of achievement.
- We know there are men in Anchorage who want to learn, and we like our male colleagues in IT. So we maintain a high female:male ratio.

If you aren't from Anchorage, check out these other orgs.

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Anchorage Programming Workshop - short presentation for Mini-Maker Faire

  1. 1. Anchorage Programming Workshop Anchorage Maker Faire 7/27/13
  2. 2. Who is APW? • Founded in March • “To empower women (and friends) to learn programming.” • “Woman” == female-identified • Men are welcome if they are the guest of female participants.
  3. 3. Why programming? • Computers are everywhere. • Programming can make our jobs (and lives) easier. • > 1.1 million new computingrelated jobs by 20181
  4. 4. But why else programming?
  5. 5. And….
  6. 6. Why focus on 2 women? • US workforce is 51% female; IT is less than 25% • Software written only by men works primarily for men. • More diverse teams build better software.
  7. 7. Mostly-female environment • Positive female role models. • Fixing the confidence differential. • Allowing male guests keeps the environment predominantly female, without being exclusionary.
  8. 8. We borrowed the idea…
  9. 9. Past Workshops • Introduction to GitHub • Web Fundamentals • HTML, Part 1 • Open Work Session
  10. 10. Upcoming Workshops • GitHub – this Wednesday! • Sign up at our booth! • More HTML & CSS • Python & Ruby • Come tell us what you want to learn!
  11. 11. Find us! • We have a booth here! • • On Facebook: • Email:
  12. 12. References 1 – US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics 2 – National Center for Women in Information Technology, ColorWall Video – Eric Phetteplace, Various anecdotes: • Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing, Margolis & Fischer •
  13. 13. Questions? • This slide deck: Coral Sheldon-Hess & Becky Boone