Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Join the Games in Schools community of practice

I'm working on the Games in Schools research project looking at how games are used in schools in the EU. We just launched a community of practice, being led by Derek Robertson from Learning and Teaching Scotland. Here's the invitation to join us:

"As a follow-up to the online teachers' survey that some of you may have participated in, on the use of electronic games in school across Europe, we are delighted to announce the launch of our online community of practice which we warmly invite you to take part in. This community of practice will provide you with a unique opportunity to voice your concerns, ask questions, share positive experiences and generally become more knowledgeable and confident about the next steps you should take to successfully integrate the use of games in your classroom. The community is available at http://gamesinschools.ning.com/."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day: Female IT engineer

On the occasion of Ada Lovelace Day, we've published an interview with Sally Buberman, a 26 year-old female IT engineer and entrepreneur from Argentina, on the European eSkills portal. It will also be covered in European Schoolnet's March newsletter.

Ada Lovelace day on Twitter and Facebook.

It's also a good occasion to tell you that there's a new organisation in Europe active in this area: the European Centre for Women in Technology.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Getting girls interested in IT

I’m at the Microsoft Executive Briefing Center for an event on how technology can support innovation in education in Europe. We’ve had a morning of speeches, presentations and videos including meeting a team of Digigirlz from the European School in Brussels.

During the event I gave a short presentation (scroll down) but it inspired me to summarise and pick out the main issues:

• Make technology accessible / access personal technology: help girls to get preferential access to PCs and equipment e.g. through girls IT clubs. Another idea is to look at their personal gadgets (e.g. mobile phones, iPods) and explore with them how they can use them in a more sophisticated way.

• Increase their confidence: a lot of girls have good grades in maths and science subjects, so are well prepared for IT and programming subjects. But female teenagers in particular lack confidence, and even with good grades will think they are not up to scratch. Help them understand you don’t have to be perfect!

• Show how leisure IT use can be helpful for education / careers – encourage students who have their own blog, or are digital photo enthusiasts, to understand that this is can be adapted for education and career purposes. Help them to know that this is a skill that others may not share.

• Help them meet realistic role models: IT is notoriously stereotyped in the media, so it’s a good idea to help them meet people who can inspire them in career choice. Why not take them to a local IT company to have an afternoon Q&A with a young, female IT professional? If you can’t physically go, try doing an online chat!