I spent yesterday mentoring an eclectic group of students at a Ladies Learning Code workshop, which introduced HTML and CSS – the building blocks of web design – to a roomful of 40 eager learners. LLC is an amazing cross-Canada nonprofit – with chapters from Newfoundland to Victoria – “working to empower everyone to feel comfortable learning beginner-friendly technical skills in a social, collaborative way.”
There was one mentor for every four to five participants – an incredible ratio that allowed us to spend plenty of hands-on time with each student, giving more one-on-one attention to those who needed it.
My group included a Java programmer who’d barely touched HTML before but caught on quickly; a graphic designer encouraged by her company to learn more about what happens to her mockups after they get sent to the website integrators; a married couple consisting of a PhD film student and a social-media specialist at a nonprofit (the couple that learns to code together stays together?); and a Master of Library & Information Studies student who realized she needed to up her game on the tech front, with her school symbolically about to dump the word “Library” from the program’s name.
Venturing outside my usual sphere of WordPress geeks was refreshing. It reminded me that more people than I think use PCs. That not all men taught themselves programming at age eleven. That semi-colons are darned important. That the music HTML and CSS make together is magical. That watching people have lightbulb moments never gets old. That getting women excited about technology is a worthy endeavour.
4 replies on “Learning from Beginners”
[…] north in Quebec, Canada, Kathryn Presner, a member of the Theme Team, recaps her experience mentoring students at Ladies Learning Code. Being a Happiness Engineer and WordCamp speaker, educating others is […]
I’d love to hear about any additional “ladies learning code” events in the future! I need help with learning about WordPress so that I am less dependent on any web designer.
Marianne – it’s great that you want to become more independent.
You can watch for upcoming Ladies Learning Code events across Canada here:
If you’re outside Canada, let me know in what city you’re located and I’ll see if I can find some resources in your area.
I also collect some location-independent learning resources here: http://zoonini.wordpress.com/