Unleashing the power of code

Girls Invent Tomorrow, in partnership with Intel, HP and The Media Corner, hosted a coding event on 24 April.

April 24, 2014

Girls Invent Tomorrow, in partnership with Intel, HP and The Media Corner, hosted a coding event on 24 April. This event marked the celebration of International Girls’ in ICT Day, a global initiative which aims to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies.

Coding, programming, scripting, application development – there are many technical definitions and nuisances that can be identified; in practise, though, these terms are used almost synonymously. Coding should be treated as the learning of a machine language, being able to read it, write it and understand it. Much like any other language, practise is vital, while ensuring students find ways to incorporate code in their futures is gaining importance.

“The vision for this joint coding workshop is not only to teach students how to programme, but to allow them to open themselves up to a whole new world where they can seek to further any career choice and to develop skills needed in a digitally savvy and connected world,” says Thuli Sibeko, founder of Girls Invent Tomorrow.

Coding addresses three fundamental skills young learners should develop, namely: problem solving, digital confidence and understanding the world.

  1. Writing, debugging and remixing your own and others’ codes assists in developing problem-solving skills. It encourages working with others, either in real-time or following tutorials, blog posts, groups and how-to guides.
  2. Digital confidence: digital literacy leads to an increased sense of confidence, not only in terms of social interaction, but also a sense of belonging in shaping the environments in which they find themselves.
  3. Understanding the world: helping coders realise they can change and influence society, and develop applications that can help others. In a world where almost everything has a digital component, being able to read and write our environment is more important than ever.

For Intel South Africa’s Corporate Affairs Director, Thabani Khupe, digital literacy is fundamental to learning in a curriculum-based environment. “There’s a need to improve digital literacy skills by integrating training into gender and development programmes in shared computing environments, where women, girls, men and boys can access hardware, software, internet connectivity, and ongoing support.”

Intel South Africa is also working to develop an online interactive gaming platform to encourage learning in an individual or mediated environment, across devices, and in the context of a peer network.

“As much as coding sounds complicated, it really need not be. Together with organisations such as Girls Invent Tomorrow, we can address this fear of coding in our youth and build on our vision for a continent well versed and equipped to be completely digitally literate,” says Khupe.