Hi there! In November 2014, We began with the idea of create a Node SchoolGirls chapter in Medellin - Colombia with the help and encouragement of MedellinJS community. The objective was to spread Node knowledge among women and it resulted in a very interesting experiment.
We have learnt a lot! at the beginning we only used the self guide workshop, but the frustration and struggle to finish it was so high, that the outcome was a lot of desertions. We started with 25 assistants, between teenagers, beginners and girls from different backgrounds like, biology, artistics, psychology, senior engineers that wanted to catch up with the new technologies, among others. After the second workshop (and after a lot of tears and frustrating faces), 8 girls remained, and the other ones never came back even with coaching and motivation attempts.
We had to start over again, we still use the workshopper tools but we have added more hours to our monthly meetings. The reality of our country is very different than we thought, even with the fact that a lot of the assistants were System Engineering graduates or Technicians in computer science, the problem is related to learning processes and the way that we work and think (*we = our country and even Latin America and other developing countries)
So, in order to deal with this problem we included two sections aside to the workshopper tools:
1.The Whole Human Problem Section:
- Deal with frustration and feelings in the learning process
- Who you are aside of what you study, or where you work, discover your passion and how you can get more opportunities by sharing your knowledge with others than if you send resumes to a lot of companies in the city.
- Learn how to share; communicate and build things together. The harder part was how to defeat the barrier of competition (where you build your own projects) and move to the new era of building things in a co-creative environment that are so familiar in this community but really rare in others (using Slack, and Github) because is not very common to work with these tools in a traditional company or even school or college. The simple exercise of building a collaborative document was hard, really hard.
Human and gender topics to support learning process
2.The Learning Issue Section:
Is really interesting how our brain is so biased with the current educational system, because it is very passive. At the beginning, with a few exceptions, the girls were waiting for us to tell them what to learn and how, and the solution we found to solve this problem was a strategy call
Questioning Methodology Learningand the evidence of the original problem was immediately. The first time that we use this methodology we spend like 10 minutes doing questions without answers or vague answers, after almost 5 sessions repeating the same concepts, for example, what is node? - the girls had to find the answer in google, and explain the findings in a collaborative document with the source. The result of the process of “construction of learning” were amazing, the girls and the mentors learned a lot in this methodology and it was really powerful because, with the learning, also came the documentation, and the tutorial ready for others in the future. The assistants learned a lot and in a better and efficient way and the tutors felt pleased and less worn during the session, taking into account that the preparation of the material, needs more time and strategy.
The greatest problem of the tutorial and courses, is that you learn a lot but if you don’t put all that learning in an especial place in your brain and even in an especial physical or virtual place, you lost your time, even more when you have others things while you are in the process of learning. To deal with this issue we use
Connecting projects with incremental processand the same that happens with the
Questioning methodologythe outcomes and the whole process were amazing!. The group developed his own learning path, and in the next meeting, they reviewed the material, they got updated and they continued building the product and learning with questions and answers and at the same time doing documentation and tutorials during the process.
It has been an amazing journey, In this year 2016 we want to open our own chapter in nodeschool platform and share all the exercises, experiences and achievements with the community. Thank you so much for the inspiration and the tools!