As a parent of a daughter, you know that tween and teenage girls use computers and the Internet as much as boys, but did you realise that girls are 5 times less likely to consider a technology-related career? We want to celebrate girls in tech as part of Girls in ICT Day, so here are our top 5 tips for encouraging your daughter to explore technology and pursue a career in ICT. And be sure to enter our competition for the chance to win a Kano Computer Kit!
Why is it important to encourage girls to use technology and take up careers in ICT?
- Girls are 5 times less likely to consider a technology related career.
- In the UK, fewer than 1 in 5 computer scientists are women (Women and ICT).
- In the US, where women hold more degrees than men and make up 58% of the professional workforce, their representation in ICT is shockingly low at less than 25% (NCWIT).
What is ICT?
In case you’re not that familiar with the term, here’s what ICT means:
So, as a parent, what can you do? Here are our 5 Top Tips!
#1. Make it fun of course!
All kids appreciate a bit of hands-on learning and messing about! Here’s a few tips to make technology fun!
- Use a cheap basic robotics kit (you’ll find a choice of them in toy shops) and challenge your daughter to use it to accomplish a particular task, such as turning the pages of a book.
- Make a Stop Motion Movie (We show you how here, How to Make a Stop Motion Movie – The Beginner’s Guide)
- If your daughter loves cooking, you could make a simple interactive cookbook together by recording the steps with the video on your smartphone and then downloading and editing it with Movie Marker.
- Your daughter could create a blog on her favourite topic- film, book, sport or hobby. Just make sure she is web aware and uses the internet safely. Read our 10 Tips for Internet Safety.
- If your teenage daughter loves her phone, here’s a great list of useful apps – 10 of the Best Free Apps to Make Your Teen’s Life Easier. If she’s a little younger she might enjoy exploring 10 Fun Apps for Tweens.
Read our profile of a Girl in ICT: Meet App Developer Niamh aged 12
#2. Regularly Use ICT Yourself
Don’t be one of those people who always has to get someone else to programme the TV scheduler or use the printer – learn! If you are not confident about your computer skills, look into attending a local adult class or club to get you up to speed. You won’t regret learning this practical skill and you will be setting a wonderful example.
#3. If you do need support, ask your daughter
If she doesn’t know how to fix it, work on the problem together to find the solution.
#4. Computer Clubs and Summer Camps
Kids have the best imagination! There are so many fun clubs and camps out there now that really aim to inspire kids while teaching them a new skill and having fun! One of the bonuses of many of these clubs and camps is that children have something real to show for their time afterwards and skills that can be applied in their home and school life. Some of our favourites for inspiring girls in tech include:
- Whizzkids – a range of programmes that open up the world of multimedia to boys and girls aged 8+ including web design, video game programming, film production, video editing.
- CoderDojo – host superb community driven clubs all over the country which provide free computer programming classes in a project-led, creative environment.
- BrickFlicks – stop motion workshops across Ireland, that make LEGO characters come to life. Using a combination of readily available digital mobile technology, hand-made sets and LEGO mini figures they encourage kids to create stop motion movies.
#5. Super Cool Websites to Explore
Where do I start? There are so many awesome tech websites showing even the youngest girls (and boys) how exciting ICT is! Here is a very brief selection of my favourites!
- Code.org – Pure inspiration and no previous experience necessary. Learn to code with your favourite Frozen characters or the Angry Birds! Great stuff!
- TechRocket – Explore the gaming world of Minecraft, Graphic Design, Photoshop and 3D Printing. There is lots to do on this excellent site.
- MadewithCode – So many things we love are made with code, from Pixar Animation to 3D printed jewellery! This site will inspire your daughter by showing the stories of other women who are pursuing dream jobs thanks to code. Highly creative!
You might also enjoy 10 of the Best Educational Apps for Kids aged 8-12
You never know where a great class, app or cool website might lead in the future! Hope you get some great ideas here and be sure to share some of your own in the comments below.
Mykidstime supports International Girls in ICT Day on 23rd April, 2015. It aims to empower and encourage girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of ICT.