Tuesday, October 13, 2009

GHC09: Girls, Computer Science, and Games

Although Grace Hopper has come and gone for some time now, the excitement still lingers. My second talk, the one I did on my own, was in the second last session of the whole conference. As you may recall, this talk was all about my computer science and games mini-course for grade eight girls.

I was supposed to only have half an hour for my talk, so my formal slides fit into that slot perfectly. However, the person for the second half hour didn't show, so I got to talk for the entire time! Cool! I took questions, showed one of the games the girls made in the first iteration of the course, and showed some course slides.

Terri was the official blogger for this session and had some great things to say about it:
Gail Carmichael hit upon the idea of doing a 1 week course on games for girls when her university was soliciting proposals for "enrichment mini courses." These courses are largely attended by grade 8s (~13 year olds), typically the advanced students from the local schools. They're intended to give the students a one-week taste of the university environment. If you are interested in running such a program, Gail suggests that there are often similar programs in other cities, local summer camps, local WISE groups, the Girl Guides/Girl Scouts and many others who could help set something up.
She notes that another thing the girls craved is Starbucks coffee... who knew?
Gail ended up having the entire hour to herself, since the second speaker, Anne Marie Agnelli, was unable to attend. This gave an opportunity for Gail to showcase one of the games created by her students, as well as have a longer question/discussion section. In fact, the second half of the presentation became much more like a Birds of a Feather session where a variety of women talked about their questions and experiences.
I also had an awesome note taker for this session, Eshe, who had come out on the Tuesday night before the conference when we had a dinner to discuss outreach efforts for young women. Check out the notes she wrote for my talk, where you can also find the slides I used.

I was so pumped when I was done this session. Many audience members came up to talk to me about the course and their ideas for their own outreach. I have never felt so important before! ;)


PhizzleDizzle said...

This is so awesome Gail! Good for you.

Gail Carmichael said...

Thanks PD! :) Maybe we'll see you at the next Grace Hopper??

PhizzleDizzle said...

You know, I've never been and I'd really like to go next year. Hopefully I'll be able to!

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