The CODING4GIRLS project addresses the gap between male and female participation in computer science education and careers by introducing early methodological learning interventions that make computer science attractive to everyone.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics in the United States, women currently represent only 18 per cent of university graduates in the field of computer science. Women are even fewer among graduates at top universities, where they are merely 14 per cent. However, in 1985, women were 37 per cent of all computer science majors.
Those statistics do not only show that there has been no progress in attracting more women towards computer science, but rather a steep reduction in the number of women pursuing computer science. In fact, computer science is the only subject in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in which female participation has dropped. This disparity in male and female participation is evident on the labour market, in which 80 per cent of top-level employees in Silicon Valley are men and women occupy only 10 per cent of the technical positions. In Europe, the situation is even worse and, according to the European Commission, only four out of every one thousand women will eventually work in the ICT sector. Those numbers are in contradiction with the exploding demand for computer science graduates, who are needed to fuel industries in software services. Those industries deliver solutions for a wide range of needs in today’s and tomorrow’s technology-immersed society.
The CODING4GIRLS project addresses this gap between male and female participation in computer science education and careers by introducing early methodological learning interventions that make computer science attractive to everyone. In this effort, the project’s partners introduce interventions that target various factors that lead girls away from computer science. Those factors can be, for example, a misperception of roles and professional careers or wrong assumptions of insufficient skills. The main goal is to attract more girls towards computer science by increasing their awareness of the rich possibilities for professional and personal growth that computer science offers and preparing them for future engagement in computer science careers.
Country: Croatia, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Turkey
Coordinator: University of Ljubljana, Slovenia https://www.uni-lj.si/eng/about_university_of_ljubljana.aspx
Target groups: primary school students, secondary school students, teachers
Topic: Computer science, Information technology, Technology, Education
Start year: 2018
End year: 2020
Contact person: Michela Tramonti, Email m.tramonti (at) eu-track.eu
The CODING4GIRLS project introduces a new pedagogical approach for design thinking that is largely linked to human-centred solutions. This approach challenges the learners and helps them to see the big picture before designing a detailed solution, encourages them to consider the interests of the wider community and challenges them to think entrepreneurially about digital technologies and how they can be used to address real-world problems.
CODING4GIRLS validates the proposed learning framework through the design and development of serious games for raising awareness in Slovenia, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Croatia, Bulgaria and Portugal. Learners are encouraged to design and code games that address specific global needs or issues. A “low-entry high-ceiling approach” allows learners to start with easy problems, thus encouraging continued participation through more challenging tasks.
The following outputs are foreseen from the implementation of the CODING4GIRLS project’s activities:
- IO1 - A methodological learning framework that is based on approaches in design thinking for building programming skills among young people and promoting careers in computer science through positive attitudes and readiness for entering the world of work. The proposed framework encourages learners to focus on user-centred solutions by taking into account the bigger picture of community and societal needs, thereby demonstrating the links between ICT and real-life.
- IO2 - A proof-of-concept approach for building programming skills among young people in basic and secondary education through the design and development of serious games. The approach encourages participation in programming activities through a “low-entry high-ceiling approach” that has low knowledge requirements in the beginning, while providing more advanced learners with challenging problems to solve. Learners are exposed to “half-baked” scenarios and encouraged to finish partially completed solutions by building blocks of software. The interface is made available in all languages represented in the consortium, as well as in English.
- IO3 - Instructional support content presented as videos with best practices that can help to facilitate the integration of the proposed design-thinking methodologies and the serious game approach into existing school practices, thus enriching learning for the benefit of the end-users, namely, learners and teachers. This includes a user guide describing the proposed approach for developing programming skills, which is made available in all languages of the consortium, in addition to English.