It’s important to introduce girls to technology well before they’ve been exposed to any gender bias, which research shows kicks in around the age of six.
That’s when girls begin to believe that technology is a ‘boy thing’ and not for girls.
The Girl Geek Academy has launched its world first #MissMakesCode teacher training program – calling on 1,000 primary school teachers to unite and teach Australian girls aged 5 – 8 to code. The program launched with a sold-out coding workshop in Sydney at Custom’s House. The event, in partnership with leading female film festival, For Films Sake, saw local primary school girls learn to code and build a game in a day.
#MissMakesCode is the first initiative in the world created to build confidence and self-efficacy in the areas of algorithmic thinking, programming and coding targeting young girls. To ensure solid pedagogical approaches are used, #MissMakesCode aligns with the Digital Technologies Curriculum.
Girl Geek Academy CEO Sarah Moran told Women Love Tech it’s all about encouraging primary teachers to join in the upcoming teacher training workshops starting in July, or to register for online bootcamps.
“#MissMakesCode is an important initiative in our bid to help increase the numbers of women in future IT careers and diversify IT roles for women. It’s critical that we engage girls in technology from the age of five, so that it can become a native skill, just like reading and writing,” Moran said.
“We know that it’s easier to engage girls in technology before they have been exposed to any gender bias. From a very young age, girls already have gendered beliefs about intelligence and they’re more likely to avoid games meant for ‘really, really smart’ children.”
Created by teachers, for teachers, the #MissMakesCode program is delivered through specialist teacher training bootcamps where primary school teachers, teacher librarians and parents of five to eight year old girls are provided with the framework to deliver these fun and engaging workshops.
“Educators will learn how to code their own game, just as their students would, followed by practical examples and resources to help them roll the program out in their school,” Moran said.
Girl Geek Academy strongly advocate for the upskilling of teachers in this space to boost their own career trajectory and increase the reach of the workshops – and ultimately, the number of girls pursuing STEAM careers by adding the art and design element to the traditional STEM focus.
The #MissMakesCode is now open for teacher signups via its website missmakescode.com. The first teacher training workshop will take place in Melbourne on 27 July, 2017.