How to get (and keep) girls jazzed about programming

Much has been written about the need to involve girls in coding, but the best path to success is to get them excited about using computers as tools to build what they’re interested in or solve their problems.

It’s not about teaching any particular language — but in getting girls and young women to think computationally, said David Miller, a software engineer at Google. He should know: he has three daughters and he’s taught all of them to code. He also volunteers at the Newton, Massachusetts branch of Girls Who Code.

He started with his first daughter Sarah, teaching her to write Candyland in Java when she was all of three years old. “Here’s the screen, here are five spaces, all red, and she took one look and said ‘That’s not Candyland.’ She was right. There weren’t enough spaces, and they were all one color.” So lesson one is to start with something the student is familiar with and try to recreate it on-screen.

“You have to get them to a place where they want to know how to make the computer do what they want it to do,” said Miller, who wrote about his efforts on the Google Cloud Platform blog.

Computer literacy is not the goal

There’s a difference between computer literacy and computational thinking. The first means being able to use a word processor to write a story or a spreadsheet to create a budget. The second requires breaking a problem down into bite-sized chunks that a computer can handle and string those steps together to do useful work.

Novice programmers have to grasp that, at the most basic level, a computer can do four things, Miller said. It can “run steps; remember stuff; repeat things; and make decisions based on tests.” In the last case, it will perform option A if X happens or option B if Y happens.

He admitted that three-year-old Sarah didn’t express any particular interest in computers or programming, but she went along with dad for a while, then fell away from computing. But she came back. Now 16, she got interested in the 12-tone scale, and decided to write a program to create some music. She wrote the code, ran into a little glitch and called on her dad to help debug the program.

“She found a real application and picked up her skills again,” Miller said. This is the sort of “aha” moment he hopes more girls have.

His 13-year-old daughter, Ilana, or Lonnie, got a bit more interested in coding than her sister and Miller lauded tools like Pencil Code, a collaborative web site that makes it easy for new programmers to collaborate on projects. Coders can drag and drop graphical blocks of code to create a game or music, and then toggle between the blocks and the actual code. The Khan Academy also has coursework that targets women in technology. (March is Women in History month.)

Miller also cited Turtle Graphics as a tool worth checking out, and for Frozen fans, worked with Disney to press Anna and Elsa into a programming tutorial for young people

David Miller and daughter Ilana.

David Miller and daughter Ilana.

Miller mentioned the huge gap between the girls’ and boys’ section of toy stores — with the boys’ aisles focusing on video and war games, action stuff and the girls’ area all pink and frilly and stressing creativity.

Computer educators should harness that call to creativity in getting girls involved in programming, he noted. If a six-year-old wants to decorate her lunchbox, why not use the computer to create the art? If she wants to create a game, ditto. The result doesn’t have to be perfect. Most kids don’t care about perfection, they care that they did the job, he said.

“Technology should not be a black box — something that’s not to be trusted. That takes us back to Frankenstein,” Miller said. A computer should be a tool like a pencil, something that can be used for many things.

How to get (and keep) girls jazzed about programming originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2015.

Continue reading…

Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:
Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.


State-of-the-art Information technology work

Google is the most go-to search engine available on the Web. We use Google to perform research on a particular subject, look for jobs, images, travel, and even email. Google first came about in the mid-90s only as a search engine. In the last fifteen years, Google has grown from solely being a search engine to a multinational corporation known as Google Inc.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin first developed the Google search engine in 1996. Page and Sergey both attended Stanford University in California as PhD students. Google was part of a research project they worked on together to dry and develop and improve the method of search engines. At the time, the only way one could access Google was through the Stanford domain. The name “Google” originated from the term “googol” which refers to the large number (10 to the 100th power) or the digit 1 followed by 100 zeros.

Not too long after Page and Brin finished their research did Google become a registered search engine in September 1997. Google Inc. was founded a year later in September 1998. For the next decade, Google Inc. bought out and partnered with smaller companies and purchased stock. One of the most vital moves in Internet history is when Google bought YouTube back in 2006 for $1.6 billion. Google Inc. also partnered with other companies such as NASA to assist in their research, and AOL, Microsoft, and Nokia.

In November 2009, Google officially became the most popular search engine in the United States. Today, it is the most used search engine on the Web. Google has even impacted society and the English language by suggesting or recommending someone to “Google it”, referring to something unknown.

One of the reasons why Google is so successful is that it is more advanced that other search engines. Google provides more advanced results and searches than some others. For example, when you type in a keyword or sentence in the search bar, it will pull up more advanced information such as stock and weather reports, detailed statistics, maps, airports, home and career listings, and even sports scores.

Google also provides other services such as Google “Docs” which is similar to a free online storage server. You can share, send, and view or edit documents posted to Google docs. It also provides a translator and money converter.

Google also offers for-profit services such as Google AdWords. AdWords is an advertising service that help small businesses with their tag lines. Google will provide small strings of text (usually a line or two) used for advertisements or banners. This is also known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. This is Google’s main source of revenue generating over $23 billion in 2009 alone.

Google has certainly dominated the World Wide Web with its advanced search engine functions and other beneficial services. Google and Google Inc. will most likely continue to grow and prosper in the future. They are continuously one step ahead on the Web, which puts them in first place in competition. So where will the Internet and search engines be in the future? “Google it”.

Read more at Charles Philip Granere and his admiration for information technology.

How you can Have Websites Built For you personally The Cheap Way

Usually, if you wish to have professional designers custom construct your website, you must be prepared to dish out at least several hundred dollars. All this can change if you know where to find the greatest deals, the best designs for the lowest price. Here’s a rough guide:

First, you must understand that it’s a rip off to get companies to design websites for you. Have you ever seen those advertisements in newspaper classified ad sections that provide a 5-page website at $500? These businesses are established companies with physical locations, therefore they have to increase the amount they charge to pay off some overheads: office rent, designer’s wages, advertising costs and so on.

As a result, it could be wise to find freelance designers who work from house. These people are often working from house so they do not have a high operation price like that of a business. On the other hand, they will be in a position to style images with quality similar to those of designers from large businesses, so it’s a “no-brainer” option.

Nevertheless, choose freelancers with care. The best way to do this could be to go to There, you can post the abstract of your project and get thousands of freelancers to bid on your project, so you will surely get the greatest deal. On top of that, you will be in a position to choose the designers based on their encounter, past transactions and ratings, so your value for money is secured.

Another route you can take would be to design your website yourself. Think about it, if you only need 5 simple pages to present some easy information, why waste hundreds of bucks for it? Just spend just a little time to sit down and do it yourself. You’ll have the ability to design your own sites even if you do not know a single line of HTML code with the help of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) programs for example Microsoft Frontpage, Macromedia Dreamweaver and so forth.

Carol Lee is an expert author specialized in web design and web development.

Make It Easy To Purchase From Your Website

Convincing your prospects to purchase from you is really a hard job, but have you ever thought that you’re making the procedure twice as difficult for both parties if your prospects are convinced but don’t know how you can buy from you? No matter how great you are at convincing your prospective customers, they will not buy if they find the process cumbersome.

First, you will wish to check that people can find your buy type effortlessly and hassle-free. You can write a clear, concise paragraph to direct your prospects to your order type so that you can minimize the chances of them getting lost. You can also decrease the probabilities of losing prospects by putting a prominent link to your buy page from every other page on your site.

Also, do you offer multiple payment choices? Some people may really feel comfortable paying via Paypal, some might only want to pay with their credit card and others might want to send a cheque. The more options you provide, the better your chances of covering your prospects’ desired payment method. After all, it wouldn’t make any sense to sell hard to a prospect only to find that they won’t be able to pay you when they want to.

On the other hand, you’ll wish to prove that you are a credible merchant. Is your order type secured using encryption technology? You would want to look into SSL for this. You can also provide a money back guarantee so that individuals will really feel confident about buying from you. How about right after sales support? Who do they contact when they have issues after purchasing?

Alternatively, you can add customer testimonials, your get in touch with information, address, and so on to boost your prospects’ confidence. Make them feel safe about buying something from you, a total stranger to them on the other end of the Internet.

As a conclusion, it would be extremely pitiful if you sold hard and sold well to a prospect and something goes wrong when he or she is ready to pay. Eliminate any chances of that to maximize your profits!

Carol Lee is an expert author specialized in web design and web development.

The Significance of a Sitemap

A sitemap is frequently considered redundant in the process of building a website, and that is indeed the reality if you made a sitemap for the sake of having one. By highlighting the significance of having a well constructed sitemap, you will be in a position to tailor your own sitemap to suit your own needs.

1) Navigation purposes

A sitemap literally acts as a map of your website. If your visitors browses your website and gets lost between the thousands of pages on your site, they can usually refer to your sitemap to see where they are, and navigate through your pages with the utmost ease.

2) Conveying your site’s theme

When your visitors load up your sitemap, they will get the gist of your website within a very short quantity of time. There’s no need to get the “big picture” of your site by reading via each page, and by doing that you’ll be saving your visitors’ time.

3) Site optimization purposes

Whenever you produce a sitemap, you’re actually creating a single page which contains links to every single page on your website. Imagine what happens when search engine robots hit this page — they’ll follow the links on the sitemap and naturally every single page of your site gets indexed by search engines! It’s also for this purpose that a link to the sitemap has to be placed prominently on the front page of your website.

4) Organization and relevance

A sitemap enables you to have a complete bird’s eye view of your site structure, and whenever you need to add new content or new sections, you’ll be able to take the existing hierarchy into consideration just by glancing at the sitemap. As a result, you will have a perfectly organized website with everything sorted according to their relevance.

From the above reasons, it is most important to implement a sitemap for website projects with a considerable size. Via this way, you will be in a position to keep your website effortlessly accesible and neatly organized for everyone.

Carol Lee is an expert author specialised in web design and development.

Mobile Communications: The Effect on Industry and Society

What would you do without your cell phone? Most of us don’t know how to respond to that as our lives are completely inundated with cell phones and mobile communications. We have become so reliant on mobile communications.

Mobile communications include any electronic device that is used solely to communicate to another by way of a network and satellite. These are also known as “cell sites” and today, there are many of them. The first mobile phone first rose to the surface in 1973. It was invented by a man named Dr. Martin Cooper who worked for Motorola. His model wasn’t released to the public until 1983.

Like all mobile communications, cell phones have greatly evolved over the years. The original model was based on the two-ray radio. It’s pretty amazing to think that the size of a two-way radio has shrunk to today’s tiny, hand-held phone in just a little over thirty years. Today’s cell phones also have many more capabilities than the original two-way radio and Dr. Cooper’s 1973 design. Today’s phones come standard with Internet access, instant and text messaging, games, Bluetooth capabilities, and GPS and camera functions.

Mobile communications have even further evolved with Smartphones. Smartphones include specifically the Blackberry and iPhone. These Smartphones have all capabilities and functions in one hand held device. They have Internet access, email, calendar and camera functions, text messaging and instant messaging, and GPS capabilities. What else could you ask for in a phone?

Smartphones also have applications. Applications, or “Apps” are small, fun programs available for download to your Smartphone. Applications include everything from the Weather Channel to sales at your favorite shoe store. They are useful tools to look up information or receive notifications rather than looking up the site on the Web.

The telephony industry really hit it big with mobile communications. In 1990, approximately 12.4 million people were using cell phones or subscribed to a cellular plan. By the end of 2009, it was recorded that 4.6 billion were using cell phones, which included Smartphones and the like.

As much as cell phones and Smartphones have helped us, they have also hurt us. Ask any auto body or auto repair technician. He or she will tell you that business has doubled since the rapid growth in cell phones. Too many people take their lives into their hands by talking or texting while driving. While doing this, our alert and reaction time decreases, which subjects us to more accidents and fatalities. Cell phones are a great tool that are meant to help us rather than be a danger to us.

The telephony industry and mobile communications, or cell phones and Smartphones have really become necessary tools in our lives. So try and answer the question again. What would you do without your cell phone or Smartphone?

Learn more at Charles Philip Granere and his articles about information technology.