Girls In ICT

Overview

In conjunction with ITU’s Girls in ICT Day celebration, the School of Computer Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia (CS USM) in collaboration with Telebort launched the Girls in ICT Campaign 2019. The campaign aimed to encourage and empower girls to consider studies and car​eers in ICT, thus enabling both girls and technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the ICT sector in Malaysia. The campaign consisted of two workshops on Animation Using Scratch targeting primary school girls aged in Penang.

Workshop 1: SJK (C) Union, Penang

We conducted an Animation using Scratch Workshop at SJK (C) Union, Penang on 25 April 2019. Thirty primary school students aged between 10 – 12 years old from three schools (SJK (C) Union, SK Methodist Girls and SJK (C) Heng Ee) participated in the workshop. The goody bags and prizes for the workshop were generously sponsored by L'Oréal Malaysia.

The goal of the workshop was to expose primary school students to programming and animation using Scratch, a visual programming language. We started by providing an overview of ICT and asked the girls about their ambitions. While aspiring to be doctors, teachers and lawyers remained popular, we did observe a shift in some of the girls aspiring to be “Youtubers”. Next, we explained how ICT is becoming more prevalent in our lives regardless of the profession and played ITU’s Girls in ICT Day 2019 Video Message. We then guided the girls on the basics of Scratch and how to animate characters to move and talk. The girls were also asked to put what they have learnt to test through the Animation Challenge.

Through this workshop, which is part of our Girls in ICT Campaign 2019, we hope to encourage young girls to further their studies in programming or multimedia in the future. Our female Computer Science students from the university also volunteered to become mentors and role models to the girls, which doubled the impact of our outreach efforts. Overall, the girls had fun learning Scratch and many expressed interests to learn more about technology. All the girls, teachers and student volunteers were awarded with a certificate of participation.

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Workshop 2: School of Computer Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia

As part of ITU’s Girls in ICT Day campaign in 2019, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in collaboration with Telebort conducted our second Animation using Scratch Workshop at the School of Computer Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang (CS USM) on 8 August 2019. For the second workshop, the task force thought it would be a good idea to bring the girls from nearby schools to experience learning coding at a university computer lab with high-tech computers. Twenty-eight primary school students aged between 10 – 12 years old  from seven schools (SK Minden Height, SK Sungai Gelugor, SK Bukit Gambir, SK Bukit Gelugor, SJKC Kuang Hwa, SJKT Subramaniya Barathee and SJKT Jalan Sungai) participated in the workshop. Again, the goody bags and prizes for the workshop were generously sponsored by L'Oréal Malaysia.

Overall feedback from the girls is positive. The goal was to expose young girls to coding and get them interested in ICT professions from a young age. This group of girls had more traditional notions of what they would like to be when they grow up (e.g., doctor, teacher, lawyer). Perhaps the few more non-conventional ambitions we heard were chef, businesswoman, scientist and fashion designer. Hopefully the campaign has helped the girls discover more options on the professions especially tech-related ones they can pursue down the road.

The second workshop is the final Girls in ICT campaign event in 2019. Many thanks to the task force for their hard work in putting together two Scratch workshops. There were many impossible challenges that were made possible and many valuable lessons learnt along the way. It is amazing to learn how different it is to teach primary school students as opposed to the more matured students we are used to.

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