This summer 15 girls have discovered the hidden side of ICT: since 2003, Interface3 has been organizing workshops for girls, leading them to explore computing in a playful manner and raising awareness among them about professional profiles and careers.
Although the "digital basic literacy" divide is globally decreasing among younger generations, this trend is not shared by all social groups: in the most vulnerable groups, if there is a computer at home, it is often in the boys’ bedroom! Furthermore, gender stereotypes about ICT seem to be widely shared: "urban geeky" girls surf, chat, are linked together by Facebook, but still perceive ICT passions and hobbies as boyishly. 100 girls have participated till 2014 in our special program "for girls only" to get the hang of social networks, hardware, programming, graphic designs, webmastering and social networks.
Partnership and funding sources
At first, the project was funded by the European Social Fund in the framework of the ADA project (www.ada-online.org) and later by both regional and local governments. Cybersoda workshops have been organized by Interface3 in partnership with extracurricular associations. The same program has been led in partnership with primary and secondary schools for both girls and boys (800 girls attended globally).
The Cybersoda program consists of 5 adaptable sessions, which can be tackled in succession as a series or as separate session. The whole curriculum requires at least 5 days (one module per day).
Female role models
Each module ends with a live interview of a female ICT professional working in the specific field explored during the module: a community manager, a technician, a developer, a graphic designer and a webmaster. Female role models are critical to lead girls in discovering their vocation for ICT. Cybersoda gives them a taste of what ICT jobs are like, with testimonials from women working in IT and from job sheets.
Dissemination: Cybersoda schoolbag
On the basis of our activities and in the spirit of sharing skills and experiences with our partners (teachers, facilitators, etc.), Interface3 developed an educational schoolbag in 2005, containing all the material needed to organize a Cybersoda workshop: teaching cards for the workshop leader, lesson notes for the workshop leader and for participants, exercises and examples. Cybersoda schoolbag offers a selection of open source software which can be used on any operating system. The Cybersoda tool came in the form of a Live CD GNU/Linux, a system that works on your PC without having to install it first.
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