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07 Feb, Tuesday
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Montreal Families

Free technology workshop just for girls

Torontonian Heather Payne founded Ladies Learning Code in 2011 after she realized there was a serious lack of opportunities for women in the world of computer science. The organization is dedicated to teaching women to learn how to code, which is to understand the language of computer software, applications and websites.

A year later, she created Girls Learning Code to bridge the gender gap in her field by offering workshops, after school programs, and camps to girls between 8 and 13. On Nov. 7, the organization is hosting a free website-creation workshop for girls.

“I think it’s very important to get kids interested in technology at an early age,” says Nancy Naluz, head of the organization’s Montreal chapter. “We’re in a digital age in which everyone is consuming digital content, interacting with some interface, and using social media. We want people to understand what they’re using and how it functions, and become producers of technology rather than just consumers.”

Research shows girls typically view technology as a tool whereas boys often see it as a toy, and the workshop is designed with that in mind. The theme is “Changing the World,” to inspire girls to see technology as a way to incite meaningful change, positively affect their surroundings and help close the gender gap in computer sciences.

In general, these workshops teach participants a variety of coding languages including HTML, CSS, and Ruby as well as website creation, 3D printing, image editing and more. The ratio of youth to instructors is four to one to ensure each participant is given a sufficient amount of attention.

The Montreal chapter has held a number of workshops for girls in the past and Naluz says she’s looking forward to the upcoming event. “I overheard one girl who has come to several workshops say that she wants to work for Google when she grows up; I thought that was amazing.”

The workshop takes place Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1253 McGill College Ave. Courses will be offered in both French and English.

To register, visit ladieslearningcode.com.

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