As coding becomes the lingua franca of the future, girls are still hesitant to embrace it. Last year, only 18.5 percent of those who took the AP computer science test were girls, a slight drop from the previous year. The gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math fields has many educators worried, but those working with young coders say games could be an effective way to spark girls’ interest. In a New York Times op-ed Nitasha Tiku writes that Minecraft, in particular, has made it to the mainstream.
“A hundred students were on ThoughtSTEM’s waiting list for its first Minecraft class two months ago. ‘I would say that the girls are actually outperforming the boys, at least in my class,’ Mr. Foster said. ‘And it’s very good to see, because as computer scientists, we definitely recognize that there’s a big gender disparity in our field.’ He added, ‘There are just so many girls who play Minecraft who, as far as I’m concerned, are all people who can be swayed to pursue coding — they just don’t realize it yet.'”
WHEN I was 7 years old, I knew the capitals of most major countries and their currencies. I had to, if I wanted to track down a devious criminal mastermind in the computer game “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?”