About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6857-6866
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain

SHORT AND SHARP: CHALLENGING GIRLS TO BECOME PROGRAMMERS

A. Hunter1, R. Boersen2

1Manukau Institute of Technology (NEW ZEALAND)
2Eastern Insititute of Technology (NEW ZEALAND)
Women are under-represented in New Zealand’s computing industry, as they are in many Western countries. This under-representation is particularly noticeable in programming roles, with women occupying fewer than 20% of these positions. One initiative aiming to attract more women into programming careers is the Programming Challenge 4 Girls (PC4G). By introducing young teenage girls to programming in a non-threatening, student-centred and fun manner, the PC4G seeks to encourage more girls to study towards computing qualifications and eventual programming work.

During the day-long event, the girls are given a short experiential teaching and learning session after which they participate in pairs in a two and a half hour challenge to solve a four-part problem. Each part builds on the other, with the last part being a problem of the girls’ own design, allowing them to demonstrate creativity. Problem topics are designed to be age and gender appropriate in order to engage and stimulate the girls. In addition, the challenge is achievement-based and rewards girls with multiple gold, silver and bronze medals being awarded at the end of the day.

Since its inception in 2008, the PC4G has expanded to involve approximately 650 girls across twenty-two sites in six countries. While the effectiveness of the PC4G has always been measured, this research project is the first to be conducted under an academic research framework. New Zealand recently introduced a digital technologies curriculum which will enable students to study programming at school. This research pilot sought to determine whether, as a consequence of the PC4G experience, the girls would choose this curriculum option and therefore consider programming as a career. A survey of 23 students from 12 Auckland schools, showed that 82% of the girls agreed that the PC4G had made them more interested in programming and 91% wanted to know more careers in programming. In addition, 61% of the girls would currently consider programming as a career option.
@InProceedings{HUNTER2014SHO,
author = {Hunter, A. and Boersen, R.},
title = {SHORT AND SHARP: CHALLENGING GIRLS TO BECOME PROGRAMMERS},
series = {6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN14 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-0557-3},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {7-9 July, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {6857-6866}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Hunter AU - R. Boersen
TI - SHORT AND SHARP: CHALLENGING GIRLS TO BECOME PROGRAMMERS
SN - 978-84-617-0557-3/2340-1117
PY - 2014
Y1 - 7-9 July, 2014
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN14 Proceedings
SP - 6857
EP - 6866
ER -
A. Hunter, R. Boersen (2014) SHORT AND SHARP: CHALLENGING GIRLS TO BECOME PROGRAMMERS, EDULEARN14 Proceedings, pp. 6857-6866.
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