‘Guyanese Girls Code’ Goes Virtual: Exploring Instructors’ Experiences
Keywords:Scratch programming, instructor experiences, school children, teaching model, virtual learning environment
The Guyanese Girls Code (GGC) training program, established in 2018, is aimed at increasing female participation in ICT. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program shifted to virtual operations to ensure the safety of participants and instructors. This presented an opportunity to contribute to the growing body of research that has been investigating the virtual implementation of such ICT interventions. Additionally, potential value was recognized in examining the instructors’ adoption of the GGC’s teaching model to the virtual mode. The program delivered the GGC curriculum primarily via the Scratch programming environment. It involved 80 participants between the ages of nine (9) and fourteen (14), and six (6) instructors. Data was collected via a focus group discussion involving three (3) instructors who shared their experiences of the virtual program. It was found that mentorship and fostering a community of learners were positive extensions of the instructors’ role. Further, game-based activities, live demonstrations, breakout rooms and projects were observed to be effective strategies in delivering the program virtually. However, parent-driven enrollment, some aspects of the virtual learning environment and flowcharting proved to be problematic. Recommendations were made for future iterations of the GGC program and other similar interventions.
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