Accessible Python education for schoolgirls using Avocados, Zombies, and Korean!

Chiin-Rui Tan

Case Study Data Science Education Learning Scientific Libraries (Numpy/Pandas/SciKit/...)

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Imagine this school scenario: an entire year group of students aged 11-12, the majority completely new to coding, undergoing 6 hours of compulsory lessons on Python for Scientific Computing.

Now imagine these outcomes:
• Students wanting to continue coding from the lessons outside of class in their own time
• Students asking to replicate the lesson computing environment at home
• Students disappointed for the lessons to come to an end and asking for more
• Students struggling in Science discovering intrinsic ability in computing, bringing new enjoyment and confidence

And lastly, imagine that all the students are girls!

This talk will share this actual case study of a pioneering Python education program implemented at a secondary school for girls in London, UK for a cohort of 120 students.

The audience will gain actionable insights of pedagogical devices used in the program that enabled universal accessibility of a mainstream Python Data stack, such as fun concepts like avocados, zombies, and Korean language, social coding, and process-focused praise.

By demonstrating to the Python education community the types of empowering outcomes this program was able to achieve for a set of pre-teenagers of a STEM underrepresented gender and with open-source software and standard school PCs, the talk aims to encourage more Scientific Computing for youth.

Type: Talk (30 mins); Python level: Beginner; Domain level: Beginner


Chiin-Rui Tan

Rho Zeta AI

A previous UK Entrepreneur winner at the Data Leaders Awards, Chiin is a technologist with 13 years’ experience pioneering data innovation, skunk works, and building teams, delivering multi-million pound value across industry, government, and open-source sectors. An Economics graduate from Cambridge University, Chiin taught herself to code later in her twenties, going on to become the first Data Scientist at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office as the Head of Data Science under Cyber & National Security. She singlehandedly wrote the code for this government department’s first AI project and OSINT capabilities that she got MP and senior adoption of. She also sat on UK civil service recruitment panels for No.10-Prime Minister’s Office as the technical specialist interviewer.

Now the founder of Rho Zeta AI, a new EdTech startup, Chiin and her team innovate unique computing education products for top schools in London, already achieving a range of exceptional tech literacy outcomes for both students and teachers.

An open-source community leader, Chiin founded the AI Club for Gender Minorities, a 800-member meetup of mainly ML, Data Science, and Data Engineering Pythonistas, where she also regularly mentors individuals without formal STEM experience into their first tech job. An original founding member of R-Ladies Global, she was previously jointly awarded a Linux Foundation grant in 2016.