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How Indian girls are learning coding so 'swiftly' with Apple

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  26 Feb 2020 12:18 PM GMT

By Nishant Arora (11:00)

New Delhi, Feb 3 (IANS) Ashita Dubey, a Class 4 student, is busy doing what Apple CEO Tim Cook has always envisioned for: Start early when it come to learn coding.

At an age when kids are busy listening to fairy tales, she is learning introductory Swift coding language at the Macro Vision Academy (MVA) which is an Apple Distinguished School in Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh.

Swift is a robust and intuitive programming language created by Apple for building apps for iOS, Mac, Apple TV and Apple Watch. It is easy to use and open source, so anyone with an idea can create something incredible -- and girls at the Academy are right into the coding game.

"Learning on iPad is very exciting as I find it a great tool not only for fun but also to learn. From learning grammar lessons to coding, I am really enjoying the device and want to create apps for Apple App Store one day," says Ashita.

Girls from different classes are busy giving wings to their ideas on Swift language -- waiting for their transition from introductory coding to professional programming and create world-class apps for the Apple ecosystem as boys from senior classes at the Academy are already into.

Ashwati Mishra from Class 7 and Aditi Bangad from Class 9 are ecstatic to learn coding as developers aren't the only ones who've noticed the potential of Swift because eeveryone can code'.

According to Jalpa Seth, an Apple Distinguished Teacher from Oberoi International School in Mumbai, Swift as a coding language can be a great way to start the coding adventure.

"It is designed to help students build a solid foundation in programming language. It equips students with skills like communication, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration, essential in developing corollary areas such as Maths, literacy, problem solving, data analysis, physics and statistics, etc," explains Seth.

When Cook says a four-year degree is not necessary to be proficient at coding, he means it.

In a bid to empower women coders and creators, Apple has partnered with eGirls Who Code', a US-based nonprofit organisation to create coding avenues for girls in the US.

Using the 'Everyone Can Code' curriculum, 90,000 girls and 'Girls Who Code' club facilitators in all 50 states can learn to use Apple's easy to learn programming language, Swift, (with which) hundreds of thousands of apps are built," according to the Cupertino-based iPhone maker.

Apple has also partnered the Malala Fund -- led by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai -- to help 130 million girls get a safe, quality education.

Indian girls are not behind and you may see them representing the country at Apple's annual flagship Worldwide Developers' Conference (WWDC) in California and other big coding events soon.

These young girl coders are thrilled at the opportunity to learn new-age technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (Core ML) and Augmented Reality (AR) to build the next generation of apps that would make our life easy.

Students who quickly learn to code can see the connection between coding and storytelling.

"Coding not only enables young minds to think out-of-the-box but also stretches their minds in a way crucial to go beyond programming skills," says Seth.

Online images reinforce occupational gender stereotypes

(16:09)

New York, Feb 4 (IANS) Gender bias and stereotypes corresponding to certain occupations are prevalent on digital and social media platforms such as Twitter, says a study.

Online images of men and women in four professions - librarian, nurse, computer programmer and civil engineer - tend to represent and reinforce existing gender stereotypes, said the study published in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology.

Women were overrepresented as librarians and nurses and underrepresented as computer programmers and civil engineers, especially when the collection and curation of content is largely automated by an algorithm, such as on Twitter, showed the findings.

For the study, the researchers from Rutgers University in New Jersey, US, analysed search results for images of people in each of the four occupations on four digital media platforms: Twitter, NYTimes.com, Wikipedia and Shutterstock.

They also compared the search results to the gender representation of each occupation as per the US Bureau of Labour Statistics.

"Gender bias limits the ability of people to select careers that may suit them and impedes fair practices, pay equity and equality," said study co-author Mary Chayko, a sociologist at the School of Communication and Information.

"Understanding the prevalence and patterns of bias and stereotypes in online images is essential, and can help us challenge, and hopefully someday break, these stereotypes," Chayko added.

On platforms where individuals can generate and curate content more directly, such as the NYTimes.com and Shutterstock, stereotypes were more likely to be challenged, the findings showed.

Search results of NYTimes.com, for example, produced images of civil engineers who are women, and nurses who are men, more often than would be expected given their representation in the Labour Statistics.

"More direct content curation will help counter gender stereotypes," said Vivek Singh, Assistant Professor in Rutgers' School of Communication and Information.

While women generally tend to be underrepresented in male-dominated professions on digital media platforms, Singh noted some progress toward equity in the gendered presentation of images from 2018 to 2019.

For instance, more women were shown in images for male-dominated professions on Twitter in 2019 than in 2018.

The researchers said that the study could help prevent biases from being designed into digital media platforms, algorithms and artificial intelligence software.

Stay vigilant as ovarian cancer has ‘silent’ symptoms

(15:56)

New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) Since ovarian cancer, the third most commonly detected cancer among Indian women, has very silent symptoms, women can take care of themselves by staying vigilant and going for regular health checkups, doctors have advised on the occasion of World Cancer Day on Tuesday.

It is a malignancy that occurs in the ovaries, the female reproductive organs that produce the ova or eggs.

Though the disease starts in the ovaries, it can spread to surrounding pelvic organs, followed by upper abdominal organs and other organs like lungs.

If anything in the body does not feel normal, especially with the abdomen, one must consider visiting a medical expert.

“This fatal gynaecological disease is not easily detectable, as its symptoms are not prominent. A bloated stomach, frequent urination, longer bouts of acidity are some of the most common indirect signs which can be related to this condition,” said Dr Shyam Aggarwal, Senior Consultant, Medical Oncology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi.

“However, there are some direct symptoms of ovarian cancer such as abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain during sex, irregular and painful periods, a slight pain in the lower back and thighs, which are severe indicators but are detectable only at later stages,” Aggarwal said.

Although there are no standard screening guidelines to detect ovarian cancer, a routine gynaecological checkup with methods such as the transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS) and the CA-125 blood test can help detect the malignancy in time.

The disease has largely been known to affect women in the post-menopausal phases i.e. between the age group of 50 to 70 years, although it has also been frequently observed in females of a younger age bracket with genetic disposition.

The disease comprises four stages (I, II, III, IV). With the right treatment at each stage, the disease can be managed and treated.

In stage-I, surgery is the most advised treatment option where the tumour is removed.

In stage-II and III, surgery and sessions of chemotherapy are the lines of treatment.

At stage-IV, which is the last stage of the malignancy, palliative care is given to the patient to control and manage the symptoms and further spread of the disease.

“If in time the right treatment is given to the patient, the survival rate in stage-I could be up to 90 per cent. Though, if the detection is delayed, the survival rate drops,” added Aggarwal

An article published in the journal Lancet Oncology in 2018 showed that Delhi has the second-highest rate of ovarian cancer in India after Kerala, followed by Arunachal Pradesh and Punjab.

Greater awareness and timely detection can help in effective management and treatment of this disease, providing a quality living.

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