Saskatoon

Girls Learning Code workshop teaches how to make art with math

Girls aged seven to 13 gathered at Innovation Place on this week to learn programming. The Girls Learning Code workshop was hosted by Canada Learning Code, an organization that aims to teach Canadians digital skills.

Canada Learning Code teaching tomorrow’s leaders

The Girls Learning Code workshop on Saturday focused on teaching how to draw a flower using programming. (Submitted by Canada Learning Code)

Today, they're making art using math, tomorrow they're taking over the world.

Girls aged seven to 13 gathered at Innovation Place on Saturday to learn programming. The Girls Learning Code workshop was hosted by Canada Learning Code, an organization that aims to teach Canadians digital skills.

"Our goal is to equip everyone with the digital skills that are going to be necessary for our future," said Christina Sitkowski, the Saskatoon chapter lead for Canada Learning Code.

Canada Learning Code focuses on teaching underrepresented groups in the technology sector, like women, girls, Indigenous youth and newcomers to Canada.

At this weekend's workshop, Sitkowski and a team of mentors taught the students how to create a flower through generative art using a tool called processing.

"We're using code, or math, to create art," she said.

'Lots of opportunities'

Addison Jutras, 12, attended the workshop. She said she's been learning coding on her own through an online program called Scratch and has taken a few coding classes.

"I like computers and I like playing games and stuff, and so I like making the games. It's cool," she said. 

About a dozen girls attended the generative art workshop. All of the tools they used were open-source and free, so the students can continue to use them at home.

Sitkowski said the goal of the workshop was to instill a sense of confidence in the girls.

"There are a lot of really cool things we can do with code, and we want them to leave with a feeling that there are lots of opportunities out there if they understand a bit of code. We really just want them to get interested in coding and have a desire to learn more when they go home."

Teen hack-a-thon in December

The next Canada Learning Code workshop in Saskatoon is Teens Learning Code on Nov. 17. The workshop is about HTML and CSS and will focus on teaching students how to build a simple website.

The website workshop will be a lead-up to a teen hack-a-thon in December.

"It's going to be a two-day hack-a-thon where teens come up with problems they want to solve in society that mean something to them, then they basically come up with ways to use code to solve those problems."

Mentors will be on had to help the teens solve the problems and produce the tools they come up with.

With files from Saskatoon Morning.

About the Author

Ashleigh Mattern is a web writer and reporter with CBC Saskatoon, CBC Saskatchewan, and CBC North; and an associate producer with Saskatoon Morning. She has been working as a journalist since 2007 and joined CBC in 2017. Email: ashleigh.mattern@cbc.ca

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