Sunday, August 24, 2014

Girls Who Code

In my post of May 18, 2014, Inspiring tomorrow's engineers, I wrote about programs in the United States that encourage children to engage in activities that will help them develop abilities associated with engineering skills.

In a similar development, there are programs in the U.S. now focusing on encouraging girls and young women to become more technology- and computer-literate. One such program is from the nonprofit organization Girls Who Code, whose mission is to "work to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities."

Girls Who Code website:

The website describes its vision thus: "Launched in Spring 2012, Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors. With support from public and private partners, Girls Who Code works to educate, inspire, and equip high school girls with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in computing fields."

In addition to information on the website, there is an article in Time magazine, "Cracking the Girl Code: How to End the Tech Gender Gap."

The online article has an accompanying video (3:08) in which girls in the Girls Who Code program explain why they had not been technically focused before, and what the program has done for them.

The video is short with clear speaking, so in addition to reading the article, students can watch the video and answer questions such as:
  • What reasons do the girls mention that they were afraid of learning to code?
  • What reasons are given for why this program was started?
  • What do you think of these reasons - do they seem important to you?
  • Can you add to any of these reasons?
  • Why do you think companies like Google and Facebook want to encourage more girls to pursue technical careers?
Then students can be encouraged to brainstorm further ideas for getting more girls interested in technology. It would be interesting to notice any ideas, comments, suggestions that differ between male and female students. If there are female students in the class, they can explain how they became interested in technology, and in the particular engineering field.

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