Written by volunteer writer Amy Freeman
It’s not only the girls who attend a TechGirlz TechShop who walk away from it having learned something. La Tasha Jackson taught her second “YOU Can Code!” workshop to a group of middle school girls in Chicago, Illinois this past November.
She noted that she loves volunteering with TechGirlz because doing so brought back a fire she’d previously let burn out. She currently works as a data administrator at a hospital and has long dreamed of becoming a software developer.
One of the many benefits of volunteering with TechGirlz for her is getting to see young women move closer to achieving their dreams. She noted that the girls she taught during this most recent workshop were particularly enthusiastic about what they were learning and were very involved throughout the entire process.
She also learned a bit about the best way to teach code to the girls, particularly to absolute beginners. She found that starting out with block coding works best, as it’s simple and really helps the girls grasp the concept.
The first time she ran the workshop, she used Blockly and Scratch. During the second workshop, she started out showing the girls Blockly, then work with Minecraft and Dance Party before ending the program with Scratch.
Although she has a background in working with code, before going into the workshop, La Tasha walked herself through the lesson plan to make sure she understood what she’d be teaching and that she was familiar with the topic.
She recommends that anyone else teaching the You Can Code! Workshop do the same. She also recommends going beyond the curriculum included in the workshop lesson plan and finding more code options to introduce to the girls during the Techshop.
Looking back on her most recent experience with TechGirlz, La Tasha says that “I’m especially excited to help the young ladies advance further with what they never thought they could do.”