Posted in Growing Up, Humanity

Frozen meets Coding

via How to get more girls to code: Use Frozen’s Elsa.

Readers,

I saw this and knew I had to share it with you. I know Disney has not always been the best influence on children–particularly when it comes to parent and child interactions (i.e. Cinderella, The Little Mermaid) or cause and effect (consequences) (i.e. Beauty and the Beast, The Princess and the Frog).

I do think Disney’s Frozen is the best Disney has done in a long time, especially since it is about Sisters and their relationship, and pointing out that “love at first sight” is not a reason to marry someone the day you meet them. Also, they continue the story of Frozen in “Once Upon A Time” for those fanatics who want to know what happens.

Back to the point, I am an html and css (or style sheets) coder from my adolescence. Remember when frames were popular and amazing!? LOL! I think combining one popular movie and a skill that can be very useful and possibly inspiring to girls and boys alike (my son LOVES Frozen) is a great idea; even better is it is free! Read below for more!

Corrections & Clarifications: The announcement was made Wednesday.

SAN FRANCISCO — If you want to lure young girls into computer coding, go straight to the heart — which these days is likely to inhabit the magical snowy landscape of Frozen.

Code.org announced Wednesday that it had teamed up with Disney Interactive on a tutorial that lets young programmers help Frozen sisters Anna and Elsa make ice fractals and skating patterns using basic coding skills.

The tutorial, at www.code.org/frozen, becomes part of the non-profit Code.org’s online learning platform, which is used in more than 50,000 classrooms. The Frozen tutorial will also kick off the ‘Hour of Code’ campaign, an initiative designed to widen participation in computer science worldwide, especially among girls.

The backbone of the tutorial is basic: employ simple commands to help the princesses skate lines on the ice. The program uses “Blockly,” a visual drag-and-drop way to create a string of commands. The older student can toggle to see the JavaScript it’s based on.

The initiative has brought in a few spokeswoman to walk kids through video tutorials. These include Microsoft engineer Paola Mejia. They also include two models, including one who can boast both modeling and writing software applications as career achievements.

Disney is also donating $100,000 to Code.org to bring computer science education to after-school programs.

The partnership comes as the tech industry grows more engaged with discussing some long-standing gaps in the workforces of its fast-growing and highly successful companies, including the small percentage of female engineers and top managers.

” The diversity in tech issue is one we can put behind us if we get these girls interested in [coding] from the beginning,” said Hadi Partovi, CEO and co-founder of Code.org.

One stated solution is to address the “pipeline” of available candidates by encouraging more women and minorities to pursue engineering and science degrees. Another has been to address the social issues that may discourage women and minorities to choose tech as a career— from outright racist and sexist remarks to the trickier issue of cultural bias.

One offshoot of this discussion has been to embrace the idea that a successful female engineer doesn’t have to look like or act like a successful male engineer, exemplified in the nerds-made-good success stories of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.

Google, for instance, in June unveiled a $50 million “Made with Code” initiative whose website uses basic coding techniques to make bracelets and other items. Code.org has also cast the spotlight on women who use coding outside of the traditional fields of making software or games — such as health and medicine. And it’s introducing the activity early, long before high-school computer class, where teen girls already may feel out of place.

“When you’re the only girl entering a classroom, the moment you walk in you feel like you don’t belong. The way we address it is to flood the classroom with young girls who’ve already tried it and know they like it,” said Partovi.

For Disney, whose wildly popular Disney Princesses franchise regularly draws the ire of feminists, the partnership may buttress the position that they are trying to surface strong heroines.

Positive buzz in this department couldn’t be more timely. The day before, another icon for young girls, Mattel’s Barbie, was under fire. Some journalists noted that a book published by Random House, “Barbie: I can be a computer engineer”, depicts Barbie completing the app she’s designed — by getting her male friends to do the coding work for her.

I hope you enjoyed the article. Please feel free to share. Have a great day.

Sincerely Yours,

Laili

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