Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Girls Learn Coding in Project ; Coding: Student to Travel to Washington, D.C

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Girls Learn Coding in Project ; Coding: Student to Travel to Washington, D.C

Article excerpt

Dozens of Topeka High students learned the basics of coding Tuesday as part of an event designed to interest girls in computer science, a traditionally male-dominated field.

Using an introductory programming application, the high- schoolers worked alone and in pairs to create short animations, music and patterns for illuminating Christmas trees with flashing lights in various colors. Students who worked on the latter project will be able to see their codes in action later this week, when their patterns will light up Christmas trees located near the White House in Washington, D.C.

The event was part of Made with Code, a Google project meant to recruit girls into coding, a field that many computer experts and educators say more female students should consider.

Women are underrepresented in computer programming and a wide range of other technology or Internet-related jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, they make up just 23 percent of computer programmers, 20 percent of software developers, 17 percent of network administrators and 40 percent of web developers.

"There are so many girls that have no idea that coding can be fun, coding can be useful," said Anne Hageman, a computer science teacher who has taught at Topeka High for 34 years, adding that coding skills can lead to great opportunities down the road. "These are high-paid jobs. These are high-skill jobs."

Hageman will travel to Washington on Wednesday with one of her students, Adrienne Cox, to participate in a national Made with Code event. Cox is one of several Topeka High students who last school year participated in an international competition to develop mobile apps. The annual competition is run by Technovation, a nonprofit with a goal of narrowing the gender gap in technology fields and entrepreneurship. Technovation's managing director, Samantha Quist, is a graduate of Topeka High.

Hageman said a dozen of her students teamed up during a three- month period to work on apps for the Technovation competition. Cox was the student who produced the most coding.

Cox said she wasn't sure what task she and other students would be asked to tackle at Thursday's event, but she was looking forward to it. …

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