“Dancing” and “coding” are two words that you normally don’t expect to see in a single sentence, but this can change in the future. In fact, it’s already changing thanks to Clemson University, which has spearheaded a study that uses movement and computer programming to encourage girls to become more involved in Science, Technology, Engineering, and/or Math or STEM.
According to Discovery News, the study uses Virtual Environment Interactions or VEnvI, a curriculum and software that’s based on another program called Alice, which is developed by Carnegie Mellon University and teaches computer programming in a three-dimensional way. Through the VEnvI curriculum, fifth-grade and sixth-grade girls learn how to make virtual 3D characters dance based on the body movements that the students make. They then use computational thinking and come up with computer programming strategies to improve their characters’ choreography.
What makes the Clemson University study inspiring is that it builds on what several research have discovered: that many girls let go of their interest in STEM during the pre-puberty stage to conform to traditional ideas of femininity. By using the fact that many girls love to dance, and by showing that dancing and coding don’t have to be mutually exclusive of each other, the study will hopefully pique more girls’ interest in STEM and encourage them to build their career in this field.