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The Hack-her-thon – Norwich High School’s inaugural coding challenge

Published on isbi School News dated Tuesday 6th of December 2022

This exciting coding challenge will take place at Norwich High School for Girls on the 24th and 25th of March 2023 and has been organised by our Class of 2022 Sixth Form alumnae Alice Tubby and Britt Dewing (pictured right).

The challenge is open to any female, non-binary, or trans student in Years 9-13 from local state schools and Norwich High School and across the two day event, students will have the opportunity to work together in teams to produce an app.

“One of the reasons we wanted to run this event was because, when we were going through high school and A levels, we found there weren’t any coding spaces outside of school that we felt completely comfortable and welcomed, as they were all male dominated.”

Alice Tubby, Norwich High School for Girls Alumna

“We were faced with old-fashioned attitudes, like the idea that we, as women, couldn’t code as well as a man.” continued Alice. “When trying to grow our confidence in coding by working with other people on projects, we’d often be sidelined before we had a chance to show our abilities. With this hack-her-thon, we hope to change this by providing a safe and welcoming environment for you. We know how intimidating it can be going to events where you know you are going to be one of very few non-males but with this event we hope you will feel comfortable learning and making mistakes, and walk out with more confidence than before.

“We both feel that it is very important to provide a safe space for women, non-binary and trans students, as such spaces are rarely seen in the coding world. We hope that you will come along and make new connections with the other participants.”

Britt commented:

“We designed our Hack-her-thon with students like us in mind. I hated learning to code, because I wasn’t any good at it to start with. Perfectionism is something that many girls struggle with; for me, the frustration that built up from making mistakes in my code was extremely off-putting. It nearly meant deciding against Computer Science A level, because of the coding project coursework. However, when I sat myself down and forced myself to start coding properly, swallowing the need to throw my laptop out of the window whenever something went wrong, I found that I really enjoyed it. There is real joy to be found in devising a concept for an app or website and working out the best way for you to implement it into code. Once I accepted that I would make mistakes, I was able to improve and relish the challenge that coding provided.”

“That’s why I am so excited about our Hack-her-thon: it will provide an immersive coding experience and hopefully push students like Alice and I to confront their own fears of making mistakes in a comfortable environment, designed to inspire them.”

Britt Dewing, Norwich High School for Girls alumna

“While we hope that participants will be happy to learn experientially, we are aware that can be quite daunting. We have structured the Hack-her-thon to overcome this – on day one, students will complete a GUI workshop, plan and research their code. By giving students a specific time-frame to think through and research how to implement their code, we are not only encouraging good coding practices but allowing them time to explore new ideas and expand their skill sets. The GUI workshop in particular will help them to produce graphical applications, giving their projects a more polished feel. On day two, students will write their code and present their projects to the rest of the groups, with prizes awarded at the end. Throughout the event, groups will receive support from their mentors, who will work alongside them and share their coding expertise.”

The challenge set to participants will be themed around an important issue – and will be announced on the first day. Britt and Alice hope that this, and the talks given by the expert speakers, will get students thinking about how they can use coding and STEM in general for social good, both right now and in their future careers.

If you or students from your school in Years 9-13 would like to take part in the Hack-her-thon, please get in touch at hackherthon@nor.gdst.net. We are always open to ideas, suggestions or contributions to our event; if you think that you could play a role in inspiring the next generation of students into coding, we would love to hear from you.

Whatever your coding ability, we hope to see you there!

The Code Club
This January, we are also launching the Code Club – a free after school coding club for girls from the local community in Years 5 and 6. The Code Club will run from 4.30pm-5.30pm every Thursday in our Senior School building – Eaton Grove starting on Thursday 12th January. Learn good coding practices, explore new ideas and expand your skill set.

Contact admin@nor.gdst.net to book a place for your daughter.
The Hack-her-thon – Norwich High School’s inaugural coding challenge - Photo 1The Hack-her-thon – Norwich High School’s inaugural coding challenge - Photo 2The Hack-her-thon – Norwich High School’s inaugural coding challenge - Photo 3
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