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Roaming Classroom for Rebel Girls to make coding more accessible

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Technology startup, Code Like a Girl, has today launched its Roaming Classroom for Rebel Girls – a mobile, pop-up classroom which aims to make coding more accessible. The pop-up classroom will provide coding workshops to girls from all socio-economic backgrounds, with the hope of increasing diversity in Australia’s future tech industry.

Code Like a Girl founders Ally Watson and Vanessa Doake created the pop-up as a way of taking their workshops beyond the CBD, allowing girls from the outer suburbs and regional areas to be exposed the possibility of a lucrative career in tech.

Code Like a Girl Co-Founder, Vanessa Doake said, “We believe tech is for everyone – we’re not just about equipping the top 10% of female coders. But when you run workshops exclusively in the CBD you do have a limited pool of girls who can attend. It goes to the core of our beliefs to ensure we’re exposing as many girls as possible to the benefits of a career in tech, and the best way for us to do this is to take our workshops to those who otherwise would have difficulty attending.

“Our mission is not just about getting more women in tech, it’s about getting more women building tech. Because unless we start really diversifying the tech industry – not just to include females but people from all walks of life – technology is never going to reach its full potential. This roadshow is just one of many things we can do to expose girls of all socio-economic backgrounds to the incredible world of coding. And hopefully one day they’ll help to make Australia’s tech industry richly diverse; because only then can we start building tech that truly serves everyone.”

The Roaming Classroom for Rebel Girls will offer coding workshops in one and two-hour sessions for future-coders ages six to eighteen. The pop-up venue has been designed for maximum impact; a pink classroom filled with motivational posters, programmable lamps, neon signs, colourful chairs, desks and colourful lockers. The classroom takes 2-3 hours to assemble and will be dismantled and then rebuilt at each location.

Doake said “When girls come into tech companies in the city there’s a real ‘wow factor’ but anytime anything happens in the outer suburbs or regional towns, they’re stuck with a community hall or library – nothing particularly inspiring. Ally and I have worked really hard to create a space we would have loved ourselves as young girls – the bright colours, the posters, the little details like programmable lamps – it’s a really cool space and we hope the girls are going to be truly inspired.”

Thanks to the support and funding of Toyota Community Trust, the mobile classroom will travel to six Victorian municipalities for two days each month, making its first stop in Brimbank in October before travelling to Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melton, Moonee Valley and finishing up in Wyndham in March 2019. Class sizes will be approximately 20 students per workshop in order to maximise one-on-one opportunities while simultaneously encouraging collaborative growth, and tickets will only be offered from as low as $5.

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