In a groundbreaking move Kuranui College has introduced girls-only computer sessions during lunch time breaks.
The national school curriculum is going through some of the biggest changes in a decade to ensure that Kiwi youngsters have the skills and knowledge to engage in an increasingly digital world. The recent set of changes made by the government are designed to make sure New Zealand is a nation of confident digital technology users and creators.
However there is a real lack of participation from girls in digital technology and the biggest drop-off for girls occurs at secondary school between the age of 13 and 17.
Kuranui College has recognised the need for a strategy to help attract and retain girls’ interest in areas of digital design, programming and coding and is now offering girls-only sessions as one possible solution.
“Girls tend to see and solve problems completely differently to boys and they’re often able to communicate really well and work better in teams,” explained Kuranui Digital Technology Teacher Witeriana Owens.
“Male-dominated images of programmers and a lack of female role models creates barriers. We think a girls-only environment will be less intimidating for a lot of our students, allowing them the space to operate in a way that feels more natural to them.”
The Kuranui girls coding club has been very popular and is already proving to be a useful way of engaging girls. “Me and my dad used to play video games all the time and that got me into it,” said year 10 programmer Ashlee Taylor.
“The goal is to become a game developer, so I’m finding out ways of doing that. I haven’t created any games yet, I’m still figuring that out, but I’ve been looking at java script and I know a lot of HTML.
“It’s just fun to code and it’s good to do stuff with my friends.”