Super Code Girl Workshops - Spain
The 'Super Code Girl' workshop which ran in the region of Seville in Spain, were set up to address an identified gender disparity within the national ICT sector: and more specifically, to promote girls’ interest in science and technology in general and in programming in particular.
The workshop was set up in the context of the How I Learned Code project, based on the idea that technology can be applied to enhance primary and secondary education in Spain, both when it comes to teaching and learning. The project also promotes understanding of programming and robotics via a holistic approach, i.e. encouraging the use of computational thinking. With only 25% of girls in secondary schools stating they are interested in ICT careers, the workshops attempted to address this issue and ensure equal access to technology for all.
Background and objectives
The workshops are scalable and can be replicated in other contexts, regions, and audiences. After the first face-to-face session, which ran in Seville, the workshop concept and methodology were transferred online, and are available for consultation. Two main digital gaps were tackled by the workshops: first, the present gap in technological literacy (i.e. those, who have not yet mastered basic concepts of computer programming, but need to get digital skills to secure or maintain employment), and secondly, the gender gap in ICT. The workshops also piloted the idea that technology and video games can actually be put to use and instil values we consider key for our society today.
The workshop kicked off as a grassroots initiative by teachers in the How I Learned Code project, led by Professor Sara Galisteo Mesa, setting out 3 priorities:
- To improve knowledge and critically analyse gender inequalities in science and technology, including the social mechanisms by which they persist.
- Promote programming and computational thinking as key competences in today’s society, tackling the digital gender gap from an early age to later on in life.
- Combat gender roles, and tackle perceived and identified prejudices and stereotypes in video games.
Why is this a good practice?
The workshop was based on a sound project methodology, which succeeded in creating a collaborative learning activity. The final outcome of the workshop conducted was a functional video game, created by pupils, who improved design thinking skills at the same time. The workshop received very positive feedback both by students taking part, and parents. A survey, which ran ahead of the workshop, showed that most adults were either unaware of the digital gender gap, or did not understand its full implications.
The workshop improved overall knowledge on this through a flexible and engaging format, which is also practical in its very nature. Participating pupils also highlighted the hands-on approach of taking actions and creating digital content, rather than being passive consumers of solutions already developed.