The L’Oréal Foundation and UNESCO share a long-standing partnership of encouraging more young women to enter STEM professions! This year, Science Centre Singapore (SCS) had the privilege of partnering them alongside A*STAR in the Regional Girl Coding Competition in celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 Mar 2019!
Girls were introduced to programming in the course of the ‘Hour of Code DANCE PARTY Competition’ that drew competitors aged 9-12 from four countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore.
For the uninitiated, the ‘Hour of code DANCE PARTY’ is super fun as a coding tutorial! It involves creating dance animations with code – making pre-animated dancers respond to timed events and user input (based on user assembled codes).
The Singapore contingent boasted six girls from St. Anthony’s Canossian Primary School who were trained by Kok Heong from SCS. On completion of the training, the girls worked in teams and put their creativity to the test by experimenting with the basic coding they had learnt and put it into practice.Their entry was shared via Skype at SCS with girls from around the region on IWD. In the course of the Competition, the girls heard from various female luminaries who shared their experiences as women in the STEM industry! This included A*STAR scientist, Dr Adriana Banozic, Dr Ai Sugiura from UNESCO and Dr Nazek El-Atab (winner of the 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Rising Talent Award).
Through the Competition, the girls from St. Anthony’s learnt from the other girls around the region, shared their creation and interacted with outstanding females from the STEM industry. STEM Inc is encouraged by how the Competition inspired the girls to learn STEM and hope it will enthuse them to pursue it with passion.
Why teach kids coding?
Coding skills include the ability to write instructions for a machine in a given language. It has become an in-demand skill across all industries as the world becomes more digitized and automated. Other than the benefit of relevance in future job positioning, learning to code at a young age can also benefit children in multiple ways such as promoting experimentation, problem solving skills, ability to plan, organise thoughts and give instructions in a logical, sequential manner.
Written by: Ang Kok Heong (Education Officer)