As most of you know, ChickTech Austin is a volunteer gig for me. My day job is working as a Content Strategist at Red Hat. In the few years, Red Hat has launched a program that lets me combine my love of open source with my love of educating girls about careers in technology called CO.LAB. I’ve had the pleasure of working with 3 cohorts of girls via CO.LAB around the country so far.
Earlier this week I was in Milwaukee mentoring a group of 12 girls from the Barack Obama School of Career & Technical Education.
The project we worked on is so cool and I hope to one day bring it to ChickTech (which I can do because it’s 100% open source). Each girl created at least 1 pages in an interactive story book. The first page we worked on was built using copper tape and LED stickers. We made our pages light up by completing these simple circuits. After finishing this first page one of the students I was mentoring turned to me and said that her favorite part of the activity was the fact that she made it! How inspiring is that?
We then moved on to using the Lilypad Arduino to make our pages shake when a button was pressed. This activity was a bit harder and required more troubleshooting on our parts to make sure things worked as we expected. I love that we weren’t able to succeed on our first try because I was able to use our failures as learning opportunities. I reminded the girls that in technology it’s all trial and error, we need to have patience and be kind to ourselves.
The overall experience was amazing! As Director of ChickTech Austin I don’t get to get my hands on the activities because I’m often behind the scenes making things run smoothly. CO.LAB has allowed me to get right in there and work with the girls one on one. The looks on their faces when they made their pages light up or vibrate were priceless and I can’t wait to get to help out again later this month in Chicago!!