Empowering Girls in Tech – Coding5K Spotlight

San José Public Library’s (SJPL) Hillview Branch Library partnered with the San José Public Library Foundation to host an App Design and Development Club for Girls workshop series, facilitated by volunteers from Apple which supports SJPL through its Community Education Initiative.

The course was specifically designed for girls due to their low representation in STEM programs, and technology and coding classes.

The three-day series emphasized app design and coding, and was created with the hope of fostering a comfortable and welcoming environment that encourages young girls to explore coding as a career option. This exposure to coding sparks interest, allows excellent learning experience and skill development, and cultivates community and motivation for girls entering this field of work. 

Girls practicing coding skills on their iPad.

Apple’s Community Education Initiative provides coding, creativity, and workforce opportunities for underrepresented communities. Along with the volunteers who led the club, Apple provided its technology, including iPad, for each learner and worked hand-in-hand with SJPL to design the program.

“This is a coding club for girls, and we teach them the Swift programming language using Apple’s Swift Playgrounds, teach different coding concepts, and guide app design,” says volunteer instructor Allena V.

The program includes exercises that teach the basics of coding presented in a collaborative, engaging, and interactive format. Youth and volunteers used the Swift Playgrounds app on iPad where they used Swift coding language to help characters navigate puzzle worlds, change variables to change outcomes in touch events and more.

Girls also identified a challenge in their lives, storyboarded an app solution, and began to build an app prototype using Keynote. On the final day of camp, girls showcased app prototypes to help people stay organized, translate pet behaviors, create custom alarms using favorite songs and more.

Coding5K programs like this provide knowledge about coding and teach students to persevere in trying something they are passionate about regardless of any mistakes along the way.  “Our main intent with this program is to ensure these girls understand what coding is, get an experience or insight into how app development is done, enjoy the whole experience, connect with other kids that they are working with, and are motivated to take this to the next level,” says volunteer instructor Stuti G.

Girls leave these coding classes feeling encouraged to try new things. They are empowered to make their future what they want whether in STEM, coding, or other fields.

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