I am a plant biologist working as a Facilitator for an American Space called the Benjamin Franklin Science Corner opened by the Embassy of the United States in Asuncion and the Scientific Society of Paraguay. Previous to working at the maker space I spent twelve years studying and living in Davis, California. I’m looking to inspire young people in Paraguay and give them unique opportunities for learning so they can be part of a new way of learning: BY DOING.
From December 9 – 12 thirty girls ages 8 to 12 from Asuncion, Paraguay and surrounding cities attended a four day long workshop on technology. They participated in various tech activities such as creating their own website, video game, introduction to coding, and how to combine programming and hardware with Raspberry Pi. The trainings used TechGirlz TechShopz in a Box™ and were adapted to fit the girl’s best interest and translated into Spanish for the use of the facilitators. This activity was the first tech camp for girls only in Asuncion, Paraguay.
On the first day of the workshop, they were introduced to the website creation tool WordPress. After technical vocabulary was introduced, groups of two girls created a website using pictures and backgrounds of their liking. On their second day, the instructors guided the girls step by step and created a videogame using the free software GameMaker. Also, the instructor showed an example of the game she created to introduce the concept of game creation.
The workshop on Friday focused on coding. However, we decided to separate the groups into two. One group was doing computer science unplugged while the other group was coding. As a result, the girls were able to code independently and had a better understanding of the concept of coding. Also, the facilitators enjoyed working with a smaller group because they got to know the girls’ personal interests a little better.
On the last day of the workshop, we decided to introduce Raspberry Pi. The facilitators adapted the workshop and using TFT display. They created their own games in Scratch. As a facilitator, I was amazed to see the girls’ ability to move their character to the direction they wanted. Also, some girls were very creative and changed the background and sprite in Scratch.
At the end of the workshops, the girls had experienced four different types of technologies that were innovative and new. Throughout the year the Science Corner is preparing similar workshops to inspire young women to pursue science and technology careers.
Written by Claudia Rodríguez-Ortega.
About the Organization: Benjamin Franklin Science Corner
The Benjamin Franklin Science Corner is a library and program center with the objectives of promoting science education in Paraguay and increasing mutual understanding between Paraguay and the United States of America. The Science Corner acts as a hub for scientific exchanges, school visits, scientific lectures, and a research center for scientific information in a variety of formats. This Science Corner is jointly sponsored by the Embassy of the United States of America and the Scientific Society of Paraguay and is open to students, scientists, researchers and the general public.
About TechShopz in a Box™
TechShopz in a Box™ are free workshop plans that allow anyone, anywhere to run TechGirlz’ workshops. As a result of this effort, the number of girls we’ve reached has more than tripled – and with your help, we can make that number grow. Learn more about this effort and consider running a workshop in your town.