Girls, Programming and Processing: Experiences Offering a One Week Introduction to Programming for 8th Grade Girls

Speaker  Michael Cohen, Steven Drucker, and Andrew Glassner

Host  Michael Cohen

Affiliation  Microsoft, Microsoft Research

Duration  01:13:37

Date recorded  16 November 2010

Last summer we offered a one week “Computer Art and Programming” class to 7th (going on) 8th grade girls. It was a first introduction to programming for all the girls. It was a blast!

We chose to use the language Processing (see http://www.processing.org ). In the first two hours, the girls were able to write a pretty complete paint program and use it to create some great images. They modified the paint program the next day to makes balls bounce around the screen (optionally) leaving trails which they then modified into a PONG game. They wrote a rudimentary word processor and even created a font with their bodies. Finally, they made self-portraits with code they wrote to do image processing. All in one week. We’ll show you some of the programs and artwork the girls created.

In this talk we will discuss what we did; why; what things worked well and what we might change if we were to do it again. If you are interested in doing something similar, hopefully this will be a good start.

Finally, we will introduce Andrew Glassner (a former MSR-er) who just completed a book on Processing for Visual Artists (see http://www.amazon.com/Processing-Visual-Artists-Expressive-Interactive/dp/1568817169/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1288911513&sr=1-2 ). He will talk for a few minutes about Processing and his plans to teach online courses on the topic.

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