About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 248-256
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.1042

Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain

LESSONS LEARNED IN PROMOTING NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND ENGINEERING IN GIRLS THROUGH A GIRLS HACKATHON AND MENTORING

A. Ruiz-Garcia1, L. Subirats2, A. Freire1

1Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Department of Information and Communication Technologies (SPAIN)
2Eurecat (SPAIN)
The participation of women in the technological fields is becoming an issue of growing concern as technologies become more and more pervasive in all social and economic environments. For the case of Spain, the number of women enrolling in the last years in engineering and computer sciences has even decreased. The implications of this decrease are huge, both for women themselves (not taking part in a growing professional and economic sector) but also for the development of the digital economy sector. A large number of initiatives are being carried out worldwide to bring more women into computing. While the USA have initiatives such as Girls Who Code, Spain lacks reference initiatives like that.

The group of women Girls in Lab launched one year ago a first hackathon in a school in Barcelona, with the main objective of raising awareness among younger girls that technology is also a field that belongs to them, as well as to develop a longer term program of actions to support the participation of women in technology. On the other hand and in parallel, the Department of Information and Communication Technologies at Universitat Pompeu Fabra had started actions within its community along the same line, supporting initiatives such as the Anita Borg Alumni Celebrations or female-only professional groups such as PyladiesBCN, a collective of female programmers in Python.

Both groups work together since late 2015 in order to increase the critical mass involved in their respective actions and have co-organised 2 larger scale hackathons which have managed to involve over 1.000 thousand people, including girls over 7 years old, students and alumni from engineering degrees (male and female), researchers and professionals. These actions aim, on the one hand, in contributing to overcome some of the barriers (specially stereotypes) within girls themselves, but also the families. On the other hand, the actions aim at providing girls with an initial contact to technological resources at their reach, in order to promote that they continue (or are, at least, more receptive to) on their own and / or making use of the many existing initiatives that promote technology among kids and youngster (both male and female).

We developed two different initiatives: a hackathon and a mentoring session. The hackathon was composed of several workshops for girls from 7 to 17 years old: scratch, app inventor, virtual reality, 3D printing, yoway, personalities in robots, building your domotic house, lego NXT and arduino. After the 2nd hackathon, an evaluation questionnaire was administered to 111 participants. The results of this questionnaire indicated that for the 10% of the participants was not her first hackathon, participants really enjoyed the hackathon although they did not had many information before attending, they will be continue learning by their own the technologies they learnt, they will explain to their friends the technologies they learnt, and they were more interested now in studying engineering degrees.

The mentorship was launched for girls over 15 years old. The main objective of this session was to connect girls with women working in ICT areas in order to assess them about their future. Girls also filled an evaluation questionnaire that allowed us to obtain useful feedback about this initiative.

In general we can conclude that this was a powerful initiative to promote girls to study engineering degrees and to increase the visibility of women in ICT.
@InProceedings{RUIZGARCIA2016LES,
author = {Ruiz-Garcia, A. and Subirats, L. and Freire, A.},
title = {LESSONS LEARNED IN PROMOTING NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND ENGINEERING IN GIRLS THROUGH A GIRLS HACKATHON AND MENTORING},
series = {8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN16 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-8860-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2016.1042},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2016.1042},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {248-256}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Ruiz-Garcia AU - L. Subirats AU - A. Freire
TI - LESSONS LEARNED IN PROMOTING NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND ENGINEERING IN GIRLS THROUGH A GIRLS HACKATHON AND MENTORING
SN - 978-84-608-8860-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2016.1042
PY - 2016
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2016
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN16 Proceedings
SP - 248
EP - 256
ER -
A. Ruiz-Garcia, L. Subirats, A. Freire (2016) LESSONS LEARNED IN PROMOTING NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND ENGINEERING IN GIRLS THROUGH A GIRLS HACKATHON AND MENTORING, EDULEARN16 Proceedings, pp. 248-256.
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