5 reasons why an imagiLabs workshop is the perfect first (and many next) step(s) into tech for girls

Do you know any girls who would like to learn how to use code to express themselves? Or maybe you want to arrange a (beginners) coding event for girls to gain skills that will be invaluable to them in the future? If so, an imagiLabs workshop is just what you need. Here’s why.
We have a true passion for teaching
 
At imagiLabs, we love running workshops. They are a great way to introduce the users to our app and the imagiCharm, that are met with both curiosity and excitement. On top of that, we get to learn so much from our attendees!
 
Our workshops are centered around the basics of programming in Python, a coding language that we believe is the perfect mix of intuitive commands and powerful results. Each of our workshops includes imagiCharms for the participants to use - a small, pebble-shaped accessory with 64 LED lights that can be programmed to do virtually anything. The participants simply connect to their charm through Bluetooth, and then write code from their own phones using our app. The only other thing they need is their curiosity. We take care of the rest, creating an interactive and educational environment!
Our attendees range from beginners to pro(grammer)s
 
We are firm believers that anyone can become a skilled programmer, and to help more people find the joy of coding, we have created our workshops to fit anyone from complete beginners to intermediate coders. This means that in some of our workshops, especially the bigger ones, we teach girls with quite a mix of previous programming experience. In circumstances like that it’s important that we meet the needs of every participant individually.
 
This was the case at this years’ Tekla Festival, an annual tech event for girls created by Swedish singer Robyn and organized by KTH. We participated as one of the many tech-driven companies and organisations that came together to hold workshops during the day-long event. We had 15 girls in each of our workshops and the participants ranged both regarding experience and age. During a typical workshop we start by explaining the basics of an 8x8 matrix and how to set the pixels in it to different colors. The girls then try it out for themselves through our app and immediately see the output on the imagiCharms. This is where we can spot the girls with more experience and can give them slightly more advanced instructions without making a big deal out of it. Throughout the workshop, our team of friendly facilitators walks around, helping the participants out and answering questions and is able to discreetly give extra instructions to those who finish quickly. This way, we give all participants space to create without feeling rushed and without turning our workshops into competitions.
imagiCharm - the physical proof that coding works
 
The star of of our workshops is - apart from all the amazing participants - the imagiCharm. The combination of the design and durability of the charm makes it the perfect accessory to attach to a bag or jacket for coding on the go, but it looks just as good as an interactive home decoration. By coding in the imagiLabs app the user can individually program every single light on the charm. This opens up the possibility of creating shapes, patterns, animations, art and much more. An all-time favorite is programming the imagiCharm to change to the beat of the girls’ favorite song, turning it into the perfect disco accessory.
 
We created the imagiCharm because we believe that by making coding tangible we can enhance the users’ experience, but what’s even more important is that our users believe so, too! “It’s so much fun to program and then see the result”! - told us one enthusiastic participant at Tekla Festival.
We teach coding with a mission
 
Did you know that according to Eurostat, only 17% of ICT professionals (Information Communication Technology) in the EU are women? This is something we at imagiLabs are passionate about changing. We firmly believe that technology is the future and hence for a more equal future we need girls and women to be equally involved in tech. We believe that the way to equip and empower girls to shape the future with tech is by not only sparking their interest at a young age but sustaining it throughout their teenage years.
 
According to a recent study by Google and Gallup, at age 12, there is no difference in interest in Computer Science between boys and girls. However, the gap widens from age 12 to 14, when 47% of boys are very interested, but only 12% of girls express interest. This is why at imagiLabs our mission is to reverse that widening gap, and encourage teenage girls to maintain their interest well past the age of 12.
 
With that in mind it we love seeing that the feedback we receive from older participants is just as excited as what we receive from our 12 year olds. "This is a very fun way of spending your time", a 16-year-old told us happily after a workshop. "I think it’s a fun way to learn coding."
 
One of the younger participants, a 12-year-old, summed up the experience in a way that melted our hearts: “How do you spell ‘amazing’?” This is just the enthusiasm we are hoping to spark when hosting workshops!

Participants keep learning beyond the workshop
 
What participants learn during the hours with us will stay with them for a long time. And of course, the best way of learning something for life is to keep practicing it. This is where our app and online community comes in. It’s a learning platform where girls can keep on exploring code, and since we demonstrate and use the app during the workshops it’s a given next step for anyone who wants to keep on growing. The app is also a social platform, where users can share their projects with each other. Take all of this and pair it up with our vibrant Instagram content around tech, coding and female role models, and you can see why the imagiLabs experience never truly ends.
 
Would you like to experience an imagiLabs workshop or would you like to host your own event following the imagiLabs curriculum? We would love to hear from you!
 
 
This article was written by Cecilia Reidefors, Digital Design intern at imagiLabs

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