Digitals Divas: Putting the Wow into Computing for Girls
By Julie Fisher, Catherine Lang, Annemieke Craig and Helen Forgasz, with Amber McLeod
WINNER of the 2016 Leonie Warne Prize
Digital Divas is now available for free download in PDF format, thanks to the generous support of the Knowledge Unlatched project; it is hosted by the OAPEN Foundation. Read Digital Divas - free download
The geek is male. Or so it seems. As is well documented, there is a distinct under-representation of girls studying computing at high school level and, correspondingly, going on to have careers in IT.
To address this problem in 2007 the authors of this book, with backgrounds in secondary teaching or IT, trialled a new and revolutionary program in schools: ‘Digital Divas’.
The Digital Divas program, based on the idea that it was possible to change girls’ perceptions of IT careers with educationally sound materials that tapped into their interests and were delivered in all-girl classes within the school curriculum, was a great success.
In Digital Divas: Putting the Wow into Computing for Girls, Fisher, Lang, Craig and Forgasz recount what they did and how they did it and reflect on the significance of this program, which has indisputably led to an increased self-sufficiency with IT amongst girls, challenged stereotyped understandings of IT as a male activity, and increased the pursuit of IT careers by young women.
About the Authors
Dr Julie Fisher is a Professor in the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University, Australia. She has worked and conducted research in the information systems field for the last 20+ years. For most of this time Julie has researched the area of gender and IT and been part of teams which have implemented intervention programs designed to encourage girls into IT. This work contributed to the design of the Digital Divas research project which she led. Her other research has focused on usability and health informatics. Julie has published widely in leading journals and conferences.
Dr Catherine Lang is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. Her research focus since 1996 has been on the under-representation of women in computing, which culminated in the national research project that is the topic of this book. She has published on the topics of student transition to higher education, computing education and pedagogy as well as social networking in education. She is the recipient of several competitive national and university grants and awards in recognition of her research strengths and her teaching and learning abilities. She tweets at @Clang13
Dr Annemieke Craig is an Associate Professor in the School of Information and Business Analytics, Deakin University. Annemieke’s career and research journey has been focused on computing education at all levels; secondary, adult education, TAFE and tertiary education. Her research interests revolve around engaging students with and in ICT. There are a number of threads contributing to this overarching research umbrella including increasing gendered participation in ICT, exploring the use of digital technologies to support teaching and learning, and improving student engagement in the ICT discipline within higher education programs.
Dr Helen Forgasz is a Professor of education and Associate Dean in the Faculty of Education, Monash University. The focus of her research and teaching is on gender issues and the affective domain in mathematics education; technology use for mathematics learning has been an area of particular interest. Helen is a regular presenter at national and international education conferences. She has edited several books, and has authored numerous book chapters, as well as a wide range of scholarly and professional journal articles.
Dr Amber McLeod is a Lecturer in Education at Monash University. She has a BSc in Applied Biology at RMIT and worked as a microbiologist before completing a Diploma of Education at La Trobe University and a Masters in Linguistics at Monash University. Amber was awarded a PhD scholarship as part of the Digital Divas project. Her PhD thesis examined the relationship between community attitudes to ICT and the outcomes of the Digital Divas Intervention Project. Amber is also interested in cross-cultural understandings of ICT.
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