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Friday, March 10, 2017

Is your daughter learning the computer skills she needs for the future? | ABC Online

Photo: Linda Liukas
"There's a technological revolution happening around the world, but it must be more than a boys' club if it's to create worthwhile change, according to computer programmer Linda Liukas." reports Patrick Wood, digital journalist with ABC News Breakfast.

Photo: Hello Ruby
The Finnish tech expert is on a mission to get more young girls interested in technology and wants them to try their hand at computer coding.

She is in Australia to spread the word, where the topic of coding is gathering momentum at community and political levels, and a yawning gender gap in the tech sector still exists.

"Teaching coding to kids and getting them interested in technology young will help set them up for the future, says coding leader Linda Liukas."
Video: How a children's book is getting kids in coding (ABC News) 

So what actually is 'coding'? 
At the simplest level, coding is what makes your computer and electronic devices work.

"Computer programming, or coding, is basically a set of instructions for a computer to understand," says Code Club Australia general manager Kelly Tagalan.
"It's what controls apps in websites, it's what controls your wearable devices."

Coding is based on a script, which is that series of letters, numbers and symbols you sometimes see when you get an error on a website.
So who is teaching it? A growing number of Australian schools are offering classes in coding to prepare kids for the jobs of the future.

The Queensland Government announced coding would soon be compulsory in all schools in the state, while for other areas it's on a school-by-school basis.

In 2014, the Federal Government allocated $3.5 million over four years towards its Coding Across the Curriculum initiative to have more students learn the skills.

And ahead of the last election, Labor promised that, if elected, coding would be taught in every primary and high school in the country...

So why the focus on girls? 
Because the statistics at a career level still show a wide gender gap.

A report last year from Australia's chief scientist, Alan Finkel, found the number of people qualified in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas was increasing.

However, only 16 per cent of the 2.3 million STEM qualified people in Australia were women.

"I started to slowly see that it's very important that we get different kinds of groups of people excited about technology, not only the 20-something boy, but also girls and kids who learn in different ways and all types of demographics," she said.
"If you only let the 20-something-year-old boys decide what kind of problems require solving, we're going to get just more dating applications or more food delivery apps.
"But just by introducing different types of people we see different types of problems that computers and technology can help us solve."

Source: ABC Online