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Female Participation in School Computing: Reversing the Trend

Report sponsored by ACCE, Intel and Digital Careers and developed by lead author Dr Jason Zagami, was launched at the Inspiring the Next Generation of Creative, Entrepreneurial and Digital Women on 10 June 2016 at Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, Sydney. http://www.vividsydney.com/event/ideas/inspiring-the-next-generation-of-creative-entrepreneurial-digital-women

Zagami, J., Boden, M., Keane, T., Moreton, B., & Schulz, K. (2016). Female participation in school computing: reversing the trend. Sydney: Digital Careers. Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9Vbwc04iGqzTXBCbkRPRy1JY1E/view?usp=sharing

Computer education, with a focus on Computer Science, has become a core subject in the Australian Curriculum and the focus of national innovation initiatives. Equal participation by girls, however, remains unlikely based on their engagement with computing in recent decades. In seeking to understand why this may be the case, a Delphi consensus process was conducted using a wide range of experts from industry and academia to explore existing research and interventions, recommending four key approaches: engaging girls in the Digital Technologies curriculum; addressing parental preconceptions and influences; providing positive role models and mentors; and supporting code clubs for girls. Unfortunately, all of these approaches have been widely implemented, and while individually successful at the scale of their implementation, have failed to systemically improve female participation in computing. The only discernible difference between initiatives to improve female participation in computing and the successful approaches in other fields such as science, has been the availability of a compulsory developmental curriculum beginning from the start of school, and it is this that may provide a scaffold that sustains female engagement over critical periods such as adolescence, when participation in computing begins to dramatically decline.

 

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ACCE Partners
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