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The Programming Challenge 4 Girls (PC4G) event came to Deakin University for the first time at the beginning of November. Designed to introduce computer programming to Year 9 and 10 secondary school girls, the event was hosted by Deakin’s School of Information Technology at the Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus.
PC4G began in New Zealand and is now an annual international event. Associate Professor Jo Coldwell-Neilson from the School of IT organised the Deakin event.
‘The aim is to introduce girls to computer programming in a fun and creative way,’ she says.
Girls from Sacred Heart College, Belmont High School and Geelong Grammar participated in the Deakin event, competing in five teams of two girls each. Following a morning tutorial session on ‘Alice’ - an innovative 3D programming environment - the girls put the knowledge they gained into action during the afternoon challenge. The team from Sacred Heart won gold on the day with teams from Belmont High taking silver and bronze.
Associate Professor Coldwell-Neilson says there were also activities for the accompanying teachers and she hopes participating in the event lays the groundwork for students and teachers to further discuss IT as a viable and creative career choice when they are back in the classroom.
Associate Professor Coldwell-Neilson also acknowledged the support the Deakin event received.
‘I’d like to thank BCC Computers in Geelong for their support of the PC4G Deakin event by donating prizes for the winners and runners up. Thank you to Jason Wells for running the Alice tutorial and competition. Also many thanks to Gail Casey for assisting with the pre-event organisation and entertaining the teachers on the day and to Jaimie McGlashan and Natalie Jablonsky for invaluable assistance on the day. The feedback from the teachers was very positive and the event will be held again in 2014.’