Cybersoda girls: Exploring IT and IT jobs

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.

"I loved the code part, it is great to realize that we can change colors and texts with tags! My brother is currently studying computer science management but I do not think I could like it. Anyway, if you organize another Cybersoda, I’ll be glad to participate!" - Karina, 16

"As far as I am concerned, I really liked the practical and manual aspects of the hardware workshop: disassembling, reassembling and it works!" - Nadia, 16

"Code is cool! At the beginning you put the first tag, then you add colors, then background color. We even did exercises with JavaScript! In the end, I was surprised with the result, it looks very complicated but everything works fine! If you organize it again, call me!" - Julie, 15

"I loved everything : website development, photo editing, HTML, I thought it was complicated but in the end, it’s only a matter of precision and it works! I have not decided yet the kind of job I would like to do but I wonder, why not IT?" - Isabella, 14

Target

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).

Curriculum

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).

  • "Clever web": how to surf safe, what is netiquette, how to use social networks (basic level) and how to find information in a fast and effective way.
  • "PC from inside" a discovery of hardware: how to add memory, graphic card, how to connect items properly.
  • "Coding": an HTML/CSS/JavaScript workshop in order to understand the relationship between code and interface.
  • "Photo and video workshop": how to download pics, edit them, create photomontage and basic video sequences.
  • "Personal website": integration of modules 3 and 4 in a personal website.

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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