Library Moving Towards a Learning Commons

As Kirsten Fournier continues to transform the high school library into a learning commons and not merely a repository for books, movie screenings are likely to become a more common occurrence. First up was the recent screening of the documentary “Codegirl.”

Fournier discovered the film through social media. In fact, the documentary appeared for a limited time on YouTube before a more traditional theatrical and on-demand video releases.

“I did some research and it looked interesting. I found out that some of our girl students had already seen it at a Google event and loved it. So I contacted some girl’s in STEM Club and we co-presented the event,” said Fournier.

While the film is intended for anyone, the story focuses on high-school-age girls from around the world competing to improve their communities through app design. Developer teams from as far away as Calabar, Nigeria, and Bangalore, India appear alongside teams as close as Andover and Winchester, Massachusetts in hopes of winning $10,000 of seed funding to release their app.

The annual girls-only competition called Technovation Challenge is an effort focused on STEM (science, tech, engineering, and math) and entrepreneurial education by non-profit Iridescent.

“It goes nicely with the new makerspace, and it potentially gets girls more interested in science and technology fields, said Fournier.

Photo: Screening the documentary Codegirl

HHS Students watching
the documentary “Codegirl.”

Believing that female students could use encouragement, Fournier explained, “I think that the documentary profiles their peers. It gives them a bigger picture of what they are capable of. When they see people like them accomplish these kinds of things, it is empowering to believe that they can do it too. Hearing it from their peers sends a louder message.”

Students attending the screening agreed.

“It was amazing that it was an international competition and to see how well high school girls can do,” said Parima Sharma.

“It was inspiring. When I saw what they were using to make the apps, I thought, ‘Hey, I was learning how to use that,'” Sarah Billeter said.

Librarian Fournier would love to do more screenings in the library, especially this particular film. “I’d love to screen it again and maybe do a joint thing with middle school students or even invite parents and make it a community thing.”

Since the innovation challenge chronicled in the film is a real-world experience for the participants, it will no doubt have a lasting impact on those kids. The students watching the film indicated the impact could be deeper still.

“I would like to get a team to compete for Technovation,” Michelle Tremblay said.

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