After the successful completion of the first session of Coder Girls: Getting started with Robotics in 2018, Women Development Society (WODES) organized another session of Coder Girls: Getting started with Robotics on 5th and 6th of April 2019. Building on the experience gathered from the Coder Girls 2018, WODES developed a more concise 2-day workshop facilitated by Ms. Lachana Hada. The workshop focused on programming gesture controlled mini bots using Calliope mini from Open Roberta and was made possible by a joint collaboration between Women Development Society (WODES), Naya, Roberta Initiative and Axis International.
While the previous sessions were offered to girls over the age of 17, this session was planned for adolescent girls under 18. 21 girls from different local, indigenous schools joined us for the session and spent two fun days at the workshop. None of these girls had any programming experience and most of the girls even lacked experience with laptops, some using it for the very first time. Keeping this in mind, we simplified the content and the workshop was tailored specifically to fit these girls. Our brief theoretical sessions were followed by elaborate practical sessions to allow the girls to learn through hands-on experience. We paid special attention to making the session fun and tried to explain the concepts using relatable examples in the local language.
The workshop featured Calliope mini, a microcontroller from Open Roberta. Calliope remarkably simplified the assembly of a two-wheeled robot, compared to our previous session, as it contained easy access to motors through the 2 inbuilt motor drivers along with a robust orientation sensor and radio modules. The girls, divided into groups, created gesture controlled bots in a mere span of two days. At the end of the workshop, these bots competed in a game where the teams had to maneuver their bots over the finish line.
The students were very enthusiastic throughout the workshop and extremely competitive during the final event. We are hopeful that this event has inspired these girls to embrace technological fields and allowed them to look past the unsubstantiated gender stereotypes. We look forward to having them with us again at our next events.