The Linux Foundation strives to make Open Source Summit one of the most inclusive tech events in a variety of ways, offering activities such as the “Women in Open Source” lunch, a diversity social, a first-time attendees get-together, and more. They have activities focused on children, too. Not only does Open Source Summit offer free on-site childcare for attendees’ children, they also sponsor a Kid’s Day.
At this year’s Kid’s Day in Vancouver, the primary goal was to introduce the kids to coding via HTML, and very little computer knowledge or experience was required to participate. “The basics, typing, browsing the Internet and minor computer operation, are all your child needs to participate,” according to the website.
For this event, The Linux Foundation collaborated with Banks Family Tech, who organized the 4-hour long workshop. This workshop was geared toward children ages 9–18 and was open to children from the community as well as those of event attendees. The kids that participated actually ranged in age from 5-13 years of age, and, many already had some coding experience. Some had tried Scratch, and others had written scripts for games.
“We are going to teach how to go from nothing and become coders,” said Phillip Banks, founder of Banks Family Tech.
The workshop focused squarely on HTML, one of the easiest computing languages. “It’s close to English and it’s not hard text and syntax to learn. It allows us to squeeze a lot of things into a day and get them excited so that they can go home and learn more,” said Banks. “After that, maybe, you can go to Python but HTML is so easy as they get a quick return by manipulating objects, text color and other things on a web-page immediately.”
This Kid’s Day event had a great mix of participants. While some of the kids accompanied their parents who were attending the conference, the majority were from the local community, whose parents learned about the workshop from social networks like Facebook. Khristine Carino, Director for Communications of SCWIST (Society for Canadian Women In Science and Technology), not only brought her own kids but also invited families from underrepresented minorities in Vancouver.
In the workshop, the children learned HTML basics like font tags, how to use fonts and colors, how to add images and videos, and how choose a background for their website. They also had the opportunity to share what they created with the whole group and learn from each other.
“It’s not so much about learning to code, just to be a coder; it’s learning to understand how things work,” said Banks. You can hear more in the video below.
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