27 September 2018
The Women in Computing Festival 2018 is celebrating Her Story: stories of women in the technology industries. The festival, held at the Centre for Computing History, celebrates women who work or have worked in technology through written documents, video clips, audio recordings, photographs, objects of interest and other creative media.
Year 6 girls from St Mary’s School, Cambridge helped to launch the Her Story exhibition on its very first day. Alongside learning about women who have worked in the technology industries, they had the chance to program BBC Micro computers from the 1980s using the text-based BBC Basic coding language. This coding lesson follows on from success for the St Mary’s girls at the National Finals of the RoboCup Junior UK National CoSpace Championship this year, with one of the St Mary’s teams achieving 3rd place overall.
The girls were also introduced to some of the robots at the Centre – including “Jennifer”, a robot who can do taekwondo – and explored the development of computer games by gaining hands-on experience with a variety of historic computers and their original software.
All of the girls had a thoroughly enjoyable experience and now have a much greater understanding of the part that they may be able to play in the next phase of developments within the computing and technology industries, by following in the footsteps of the pioneering women who have already been so instrumental in this field.
Rachel Kidd, a programmer and team member at the Centre who presented the interactive class on robots, said: “The festival is an event that gives women in the technology industry a voice; the exhibition will hopefully inspire girls and young women such as the St Mary’s girls to see themselves in this career”.
Mr. Andrew Severy, the Computer Science Coordinator at St Mary’s Junior School, commented: “We’ve had a wonderful trip to the Centre for Computing History. The staff at the centre were extremely impressed with the girls, not only in terms of their Computer Science skills, but also with their interest in the development of computing and the historical figures who pioneered it, and their intelligent questions and observations throughout the visit. At St Mary’s we believe that our girls are the future, which is why it’s so important that girls learn to love coding. We encourage our girls to get involved in lots of STEM activities, which has led to success at the recent RoboCup Championships.”