About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 9082-9086
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.0706

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain

GIRLS GET TECH: A SMART MODEL FOR ENGAGING FEMALES IN STEM

J. Barber, S. Sanderson

University of Leeds (UNITED KINGDOM)
Investigation of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) student recruitment data for our own institution over the past six academic years has revealed a number of trends concerning gender balance for certain subjects. Whilst areas of study such as business, mathematics and chemistry have roughly a 50/50 % split of females and males, student populations in degree programmes for environmental sciences, geography and biological sciences have shifted towards a larger proportion of female students. Whilst there is also a larger proportion of females registering for degree programmes across medicine, dentistry, health and food sciences there is a long-term trend of low numbers of females registering for computing, physics and engineering. This year our female student component in our School of Computing was its lowest for six years.

In order to introduce physics, computing, electrical and electronic engineering to prospective students, smartphones, cloud computing and Application Program Interfaces (APIs) were used as a learning resource. In this way the more creative side of digital technology learning was explored. A zero/very low cost approach was taken using open source and free to use materials and students were encouraged to work in groups to reduce impact of any not having the latest phones. Skills and competencies were developed through a quiz, design and virtual reality which in turn generated confidence to explore the more technological aspects of smartphones.

Exceptionally good feedback from participants and teachers resulted in over-subscription for these classes from schools and requests from teachers for our lesson plans. As a consequence further learning materials are being developed covering optical recognition and augmented reality.

Girls seem to be more willing to engage in STEM-focussed learning where they can use tools (smartphones) that they are already comfortable with in a problem-based learning type situation. Parallel learning of artistic/aesthetic design in combination with coding and cloud-based computing seems to provide a suitable model for contextualised learning, building skills and competencies to deal with more difficult problems as the level of work progresses. The availability of in-built functionality within smartphones also provides options for differentiation within groups allowing teachers to work with groups of different ability in the same classroom setting.
@InProceedings{BARBER2017GIR,
author = {Barber, J. and Sanderson, S.},
title = {GIRLS GET TECH: A SMART MODEL FOR ENGAGING FEMALES IN STEM},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.0706},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.0706},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {9082-9086}}
TY - CONF
AU - J. Barber AU - S. Sanderson
TI - GIRLS GET TECH: A SMART MODEL FOR ENGAGING FEMALES IN STEM
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.0706
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 9082
EP - 9086
ER -
J. Barber, S. Sanderson (2017) GIRLS GET TECH: A SMART MODEL FOR ENGAGING FEMALES IN STEM, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 9082-9086.
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