As classroom teachers, we noticed a poor uptake of Computing and Computer Science at GCSE and A Level. At CAS #include we try to promote Computing by taking a gender neutral approach to the teaching of the subject. This can be seen in our resources and events. We run inclusive Computer Science taster events for teenagers called #Define which help give young people access to great role models in the industry and a true reflection on jobs within the industry. We believe that excellent teachers can make a huge difference to the lives of children and so we aim to support educators across the UK with classroom tips and tricks, free educational resources and training events across our five strands.
What deters girls from Computing?
- Lower confidence levels than that of male peers in the subject area.
- Use of examples within lessons that do not promote an inclusive environment.
- Lack of opportunity for collaboration and project based learning.
- Irelevent curriculum and focus on teacher led lessons rather than hands on projects.
- Lack of visible positive female role models within the facility, upper year groups or wider world.
- Poor perceptions of possible careers within the field.
- Lack of access to career information.
What should educators do to encourage girls in Computing?
- Help to spark interest through creative projects that solve a real world problem in a fun and collaborative setting.
- Build confidence of their students with role models and mentors perhaps from older year groups or by reaching out to your local tech community.
- Nurture an inclusive community where it is okay to fail both inside the classroom and through extra curricular clubs.
- Help students to develop a tech identity using free web tools to share and seek feedback from outside of school.
- Use a gender neutral approach to lesson and activity planning.
Research & Further Reading
- Women make up 12.8% of the STEM workforce in the UK according to the WISE Campaign UK Statistics 2014. There is also evidence to suggest that if girls in education continue with at least one STEM subject post-16, they are likely to have better prospects and more career choice.
- Gender diversity still poses a major challenge in the IT and telecoms industry, with women making up less than 20 per cent of the IT workforce say BCS as part of their Women in IT: Inspiring the Next Generation Campaign.
- Women Who Choose Computer Science:What Really Matters, Google – May 26, 2014
- Girls in IT: The Facts, National Centre for Women and Informational Technology USA.
- Cambridge Assessment Research Report – Gender differences in GCSE – October 2015
- Ofsted – A-Level Subject Take-up: Numbers and Proportions of girls and boys studying A-Level subjects in England – March 2015
- The LilyPad Arduino: using computational textiles to investigate engagement, aesthetics, and diversity in computer science education – Leah Buechley, Mike Eisenberg, Jaime Catchen, Ali Crockett University of Colorado at Boulder 2008
- Download, print and display in your classroom our free role models in Computing poster.
- Use some “Geek Gurl Diaries” videos in your lessons, clubs or just for classroom activity ideas.
You can also visit our Gender Resources page.