Saturday, October 31, 2015

Day 99 ~ How to NOT attract girls to learn to code

Yesterday I was looking for a specific tutorial to help me figure out a coding algorithm for my new Arduino Bean.  In the first page of search results,  I came across an opportunity to learn to code through a gamified system called  CODE WARRIORS.

The site promised an environment where 

"Giant robots and JavaScript are your weapons of choice as you program your way to victory in this strategic combat game. No previous coding knowledge is required to crack the code as the game guides you from a beginner, to coder, to warrrior. Let the battle commence!

Build your ultimate Code Warrior in the Chop Shop, a hi-tech garage full of weapons, robot parts, and paints... 
Earn coding credits for match and challenge completion to spend in the Chop Shop 
Compete against your Facebook friends with a large arsenal of weapons and in four awesome arenas"

As I scrolled on the site, the welcome message was replaced with this graphic to ENTER the site

I can't be the only one who feels that the message here is similar to the message that women face in the military.  "The is a combat zone - no women allowed".

I think what bothered me even more was that the site was being marketed to  schools complete with a teacher pack for classroom implementation.  The marketing department even included a review from an elementary school 
"We have been using Code Warriors in school as a way to deliver an element of our computing curriculum. It has been one of the most engaging tools we use to teach .."

Thankfully there are plenty of other options for computing curriculum that understands the  barriers for women and girls to feel welcomed into the field of computer science.   But I found it interesting that in a world where organizations like NAPE (National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity) are offering training in the impact of mirco-messaging as a strategy to increasing the number of girls and women in STEM, that there are still plenty of messages that are NOT so MICRO telling girls that coding is NOT for them. 

Just saying...

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