The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were given insight into an innovative outreach programme teaching coding skills to young girls.
During a visit to YOOX NET-A-PORTER’s White City tech hub, Prince Charles and Camilla joined a coding session with more than 60 local schoolgirls, aged 11 to 13, as part of a special session of Imperial CodeLab.
We hope to inspire a diverse next generation of tech innovators Susan Eisenbach Professor of Computing
Imperial Codelab, a partnership with YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP, seeks to improve opportunities for local children and help level the playing field for underrepresented groups in the technology sector, with a particular focus on girls.
Founded by Imperial’s Department of Computing, the Imperial Codelab equips participants with skills in problem solving, creativity and computational thinking. With guidance from Imperial students, participants are taught to code their own games, animations and apps through a series of interactive and creative projects.
Sharing the wonder
Imperial Codelab runs at both the Department of Computing at South Kensington campus and at The Invention Rooms at White City, with the aim of inspiring the next generation of inventors, entrepreneurs and makers from the local area and beyond. It is part of a wide programme of events and activities to involve the local community in the College’s work and share the wonder of science and research.
Sophie Belonogova, a student from Holland Park school, said: "We’ve been learning and having a go at coding today. I really enjoyed how lots of schools have come together to learn. I got to meet lots of people - including His Royal Highness! It’s an amazing project to be part of and the best bit was working as part of a team.
“From our school some people were chosen because we’re doing computer science for GCSE. I was therefore super excited to be part of this project. I’m not sure what I want to do in the future, but tech and coding will definitely be part of it."
Inspiring the next generation
Susan Eisenbach, Professor of Computing, champions the programme. She said: “In a world where everyone carries a computer with them (our smartphones) we are very concerned that most of the software we all use is designed by only half the population. Girls decide very young that going into Computing is not for them. Through Imperial CodeLab, we hope to break down barriers and excite girls about Computing. equipping them with skills in problem-solving, creativity and computational thinking. We hope to inspire a diverse next generation of tech innovators.”
The learning platform used on the course was developed by Imperial students from the Department of Computing, as a project for their MSc. Since graduating, they have founded digital education startup TuringLab, who remain key to the delivery of CodeLab.
Sam Green, Imperial alumnus and co-founder of Turinglab, said: “Digital skills are critical for the next generation - impacting their daily lives both at home and at work. Turinglab aims to introduce many of these fundamental skills through creative coding and the programme has been a great success.”
Federico Marchetti, Founder and CEO of YOOX NET-A-PORTER Group, said: “[…] we were particularly proud to introduce our guests to 60 young women from local schools taking part in a hackathon today as part of our partnership with Imperial College London, one of our initiatives to help educate today’s students for the future.
"It was a pleasure to see The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall learning the basics of coding alongside these students.”
The visit by the Royal couple was part of a wider tour of innovative businesses in London. This included a visit to the YouTube space in King's Cross and the newly opened White City outpost of members' club, Soho House for a showcase of sustainable fashion.
- Image credit: Chris Jackson, Getty.
Article text (excluding photos or graphics) © Imperial College London.
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