How to Give Your Girls a Jumpstart on an Engineering Career

steve jobs quoteIt’s likely no secret that I’m a rabid fan of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in general, but especially for girls. And now, you can give your girls (and boys) a jumpstart on an engineering career by introducing them to Tynker, an introduction to computer programming course that allows them to build apps and games.

What Is Tynker

Tynker is a creative computing program that teaches kids the basics of coding—and in our web-based society, the ability to code is some kind of secret weapon to possess. Tynker is a 16-course program consisting of lessons, puzzles, tutorials, quizzes, training missions and videos. Sounds all kinds of awesome, doesn’t it?

And when you think about it–pretty much everything we do these days relies on computers and somebody, somewhere, who knew how to program them. Which is what writing code is.

Who Can Use It

Tynker is for kids in grades 4-8 and not only teaches the fundamentals of coding; it also lays the foundation for progressive learning. The Tynker process allows kids to take their ideas and turn them into math, art and animated stories. The whole process is a lot like gaming and my guess is they’ll have so much fun learning the basics, Tynker will quickly become addictive.

How It Works

Tynker is an online programming course. And the $50 you’ll spend per kid might be the best investment in your kids’ future you’ll make. I know I sound like a rabid fan girl, but for this parent, who opted out of math and sciences classes as early as possible in high school (mostly encouraged by my parents to do so), I’m more than a little passionate about setting my four girls on a different path. A path that teaches them the power of STEM learning and gives them building blocks that will power their brains and their careers.

Tynker features game design tools, badges and course certificates, a public gallery where you can share your kids’ creations with the world and a parent dashboard where you can learn yourself and track your kids’ progress. A pretty good value for 50 bucks, right?

Why Programming

In spite of what you might think, you don’t have to be a genius to learn how to code. Coding is about addition and subtraction. And then you can toss in some multiplication tables. Combine that with a desire to solve problems—or to create something fun—and some tenacity, and you’ve just described computer programming. Now, let’s talk a bit about opportunity. According to Code.org, a foundation dedicated to growing computer science education, by the year 2020, there will 1,000,000 more jobs in computer science than there will be people to fill them.

tech jobs earning potential

And here are some inspiring quotes, all from women, about the importance of computer science.

coding quotesimportance of coding

girls and engineering

More About Code.Org and a Chance to Be Inspired

Studies show that the foundation for STEM careers is laid early in life and this benefits not only our kids, but also our economy, our country and, most importantly, our future. If somehow I’ve not yet convinced you to sign your girls (and your boys) up for Tynker or explore one of the other options to teach kids computer programming or if you just want to be really inspired, watch this video produced by Code.org–it’ll likely change everything.

Other Resources You Might Like:

Engineering: Go for It, an organization dedicated to promoting and enhancing efforts to improve K-12 STEM and engineering education.

GoldieBlox: Engineering Toys for Girls, a fantastic product and a great video from GoldieBlox’s founder, Debbie Sterling, a Stanford engineering grad.

The STEM Education Coalition, working to promote STEM programs in the U.S. for teachers and students at the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation and other agencies that offer STEM related programs.

TheMakerMom.com, a site developed by Kim Moldofsky, founder of #STEMchat, and dedicated to helping parents raise STEM-loving, maker-friendly kids.

Images via Code.org

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