Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Girls get in on gaming

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TWC News: Girls get in on gaming
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It's a twist on science class-- instead of scales and beakers, Girlstart students are programming their first video game.

The nonprofit aims to get girls involved in STEM subjects, which is science, technology, engineering and math.

On Monday, their assignment added a dash of fun.

"Today we're showing girls that it's not that hard to program a video game,” Girlstart Deputy Director Julie Shannan said. “It's actually really rewarding to tell the computer exactly what to do, and we take the mystery out of computer programming."

It was a great way for the students to take their creative abilities and learn a new skill that seemed impossible at first.

"It's really fun,” student Savannah Jackson said. “I thought it was going to be harder but once you learn the basics of it, it's actually a lot easier than I thought it would be."

Creating a digital world also helps the students combine textbook lessons with new-age programming.

Instructors say the creative wheels don't stop turning once classes are over.

"I personally enjoy art and creative thinking and this is really fun for me because I get to incorporate something into all the subjects I'm learning in school," student Tess McMillian said.

It’s a welcome change to a field that has seen the number of female programmers drop.

Shannan says in the 1980s, 37 percent of females graduated with computer science degrees, and now that number is around 18 percent.

Girlstart classes are offered after school and in the summer. Programming classes are available to girls from first to eighth grade. Visit for more information. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP