Teach Programming is a community interest company we founded to enable more young people, especially girls, to experience the joy of programming.

Teach Programming emoticonsBetween two of us, we run weekly computing after school clubs at both Hayesfield Girls School and Beechen Cliff Boys School in Bath. Currently students are building their very own interactable emojis (see right), or animated solar systems using XML and JavaScript. Students are learning real programming skills that can be applied in other areas.

Learning over breakfast

John also runs two breakfast clubs at St Stephens Primary school introducing simple programming concepts using Scratch.

“We are using apps like Hopscotch to turn iPads into an a etch-a-sketch”

We’re also collaborating with Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute (BRLSI) to run junior technology events using apps like Hopscotch to turn iPads into an a etch-a-sketch.

I’m also currently teaching an undergraduate module and an evening class at the City of Bath College in Android programming. Students are currently working through building their own travel destination app which displays pictures from the popular photo sharing website Flickr.

Technology workshops

We have also been running technology workshops for children using littleBits at places like BRLSI and The Museum of the History of Science at Oxford University. These are a great way to inspire young people to begin looking at technology or engineering by creating their own circuit projects. One young person recently built a project with a light sensor and alarm, placed it inside a book, so that they’d be notified if anyone opened their book.

Danielle-vass-teaching-children

Engaged young developers: Teaching coding is more fun with sweets!

We’re also moving on to running more advanced Internet of Things workshops using a littleBit that we can program over the Internet. For example, one of our target projects is to create an Internet enabled umbrella stand that talks to Yahoo’s weather database and lights up your umbrella stand if it’s due to rain that day, thus reminding you to take your umbrella with you!

“We feel it is super important to encourage the next generation to pursue digital careers at a time when fewer and fewer young people are choosing to do so”

Both John and myself volunteer our time at personal and financial cost. We both feel it is super important to encourage the next generation to pursue digital careers at a time when fewer and fewer young people are choosing to do so. During 2014, only 4,000 people studied Computing at A-Level, whereas 44,000 studied Art. Of those only 7% of the Computing students were female, as opposed to the 75% of the Art students who are female.

We believe there are substantial reasons why fewer students are opting for computing related subjects, most people think it’s either really boring, or way too hard for them. We’re here to show that everyone *can* do computing and it *can* be fun and creative too!

We’re hoping to run a couple more of these sorts of events over the coming weeks. If you or you know someone who would be interested in signing up, you can see our event listings page here.

danielle vassDanielle is a mobile developer specialising in making both Android and iOS apps, who has previously earned a top trending developer title and project on GitHub. She is also co-founder of Teach Programming CIC – set up to teach more young people, especially girls, the wonders of programming.  You can follow her on Twitter here: @de_velopment