Outbreak Outreach - How COVID broke our program for the better
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Cities have locked down and we have no idea when we’ll be able to host large outreach events in person again. How do we persevere with our mission to get girls involved with tech? Can we sustain the communities built up over years online and maintain impact and enjoyment?
The Girls’ Programming Network has a well tested-formula for creating communities of girls and women centred around a passion for coding. But when pandemic strikes, is maintaining communities based around connecting with hundreds of like-minded people even possible? Is it even possible to run an online event that upholds our values? And will kids even want to sign up for more hours of online learning?
I’ll take you through how we devised a plan to keep the GPN spirit alive online, with a dynamic schedule of learning, socialising and fun! I’ll show you the tech that made it all possible, tell you the lessons we learnt along the way, and let you in on some of the things we’ll be keeping in the long term.
Renee Noble is the Executive Director of the Girls’ Programming Network (GPN) and a Software Developer at edtech Company Grok Learning.
Having had no exposure to programming until stumbling upon it while studying at Sydney University, she was quick to add a Computer Science major to her Chemical Engineering and Chemistry pursuits. Given this late introduction to tech, Renee’s passion is making coding education exciting and accessible to everyone. She strives to create scalable content and methods for including girls, women, and people from other underrepresented gender groups.
In her time at the helm of GPN Renee has taken what was a small single site operation, to providing 1400 girls a year with free programming workshops. Having already spread the program to six sites around Australia, more cities lining up to join the GPN community. The programs huge popularity and impact have seen Renee featured amongst the AFR’s 100 Women of Influence, Women’s Weekly’s “Women of the Future”, and Create magazine's “10 Emerging Women of Engineering”.