No other world event in recent history has impacted us as much as the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last few months, we have had to adapt quickly to a new lifestyle. In a time where staying at home is enforced by the government, most of our social interactions have moved online. Many people are stuck at home, uncertain of the future and counting days as they go by. As a community, we must unite to be able to get through this time. We must also understand how to help each other out by staying at home and helping others stay at home. Therefore, we at The Girl Code (TGC) formed the idea of #Build.
#Build is a series of online mentorship-based workshops aimed at building a final project using not only TGC mentors’ help, but also of their peers. The objective of the workshop series was to come together as a community during the pandemic to voluntarily teach programming skills to those who want to learn. By participating in this workshop, they helped the community by practicing social distancing and keeping busy within their homes. The workshop was also a way of taking our minds off of the unpredictable world outside. It allowed people to immerse themselves in the wonderful world of tech. A channel was made on the social media platform Slack for communication. This allowed participants of #Build2.0 to mix and connect with like-minded individuals. This just goes to show that even though we are physically apart, nothing can stop us from coming together.
#Build2.0 was sponsored by Dockship and Qualified. Dockship is a global data science community where data scientists all over the world can publish AI models for people to see and use. Qualified is an online platform effective in assessing software created by software engineers all over. Through the assistance of our sponsors, we were able to create more interest. At the end of the workshop, the top-performing participants were provided with the opportunity to access premium accounts or courses in their services which enabled them to further hone their interests.
In the first iteration, we had over 250+ participants and taught web development. In the second iteration, #Build2.0, we aimed at teaching participants how to build pygames from scratch in under 4 weeks, from 1st June to the 20th. The workshop was carefully planned out weeks in advance by the TGC team.
The participants were taught basic python skills and how to make pygames during the workshop. Regular sessions were taken in English twice, one in the evening and one late at night. A session was taken in Hindi as well. Regular review sessions were held throughout where the mentors would answer the questions and doubts of the participants. The mentors were available almost 24/7 to help the participants have their doubts answered. Recordings of the lessons were always available to those who could not attend our sessions due to scheduling conflicts.
According to our participants, the lessons were very engaging. “Had an amazing time! It was a pleasure to learn a new programming language over such a quick span of time and #build a pygame.Thanks for the opportunity,” – Ishita Pai Raikar. Many topics were simplified using simpler topics i.e. food, marvel, etc. Python conditionals, loops, functions, and other basic concepts were taught before moving on to the pygame. Kahoot quizzes were held after each session to motivate them.
Taking into consideration how uncertain the global situation looks like right now, it was heartening to see the sense of community that was prevalent through #Build. Using the Slack channel, many participants took it upon themselves to help others out. For their efforts, they were awarded with the title of “Peer Mentor” at the end of the workshop. This further promoted the concept of community, the main idea behind the workshop.
During the workshop, the participants were given little projects and assignments they had to complete by the mentors. The final project in their curriculum was the ‘pygame’, a game made using python. Through what they learnt at #Build2.0, and with some help from their mentors, they were able to create interesting and fun games. For their efforts, they were given certificates of their participation in the workshop. They were also invited to join the official TGC Slack community to further improve on the skills they learnt.
An astounding success, the workshop had over 250+ participants from 10+ countries. It was clear that there was a lot of interest in the workshop. #Build is a testament to how the uncertainty of the world outside had no impact on the participants who wanted to learn. Time and time again, nothing can stop us from learning, even when we’re on the brink of chaos.
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