Something special was happening in Microsoft’s office during this Mother’s Day weekend: an unique edition of Ladies Learning Code that was the first youth event for the Montreal chapter.
Supported by Microsoft Canada’s Youthspark initiative, Ladies Learning Code, an organization dedicated to spreading the education of code through mentored workshops, featured mother-daughter pairs learning HTML and CSS together across Canada. This was done under the umbrella of Girls Learning Code, an offshoot of Ladies Learning Code that is centered around inspiring girls to pick up technology at a young age.
It was a heart-warming event, and one that signalled a generational shift. It was often the more tech-savvy daughters who taught their mothers had to build out websites. The digital children of today were proactive, and able to build out their visions quickly, and efficiently.
Some girls stood up and pitched why they had created their piece of digital art. One daughter built a website to convince her father that the family needed a dog. Another marketed cupcakes through her new digital platform. It was an opportunity for them to demonstrate what they had built in front of an audience of their peers: a platform for digital storytelling that was rooted in this new generation of digital natives expressing themselves.
The websites were loose and colorful, reminiscent of a children’s book come alive on computer screens. They expressed a sense of spontaneous fun.
The mentors who came to organize the event and give the mother-daughter pairs guidance came because they wanted to relate their experience, and help others build like they could. Many mentors expressed how fun it was to be there. Having been a mentor myself at one workshop, I could relate to the amazing sense of energy and accomplishment that resonated throughout the room.
The mothers who brought their daughters came because it was a cost-effective activity to get to connect with their daughters, and because they wanted to expose their girls to different experiences and perspectives. Everybody in the room knew how important it was to learn code for the age we live in.
The workshop concluded with smiles, and finished webpages. Somebody mentioned a hosting solution that could help put all of the samples online, so that in less than a day, the mothers and daughters who were there went from learning code, to seeing a finished product that was ready to be seen by all. Girls Learning Code could not be described as anything less than a resounding success—and a model for how to get more young girls interested in joining the startup community.