Wednesday, 22 July 2015

SiliconCape Women: Schools Workshops - Introducing STEM and Computer Science. Interested?

This is a message from Cara Turner about SiliconCape Women’s School workshops in Cape Town

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What are we trying to do?
  • Open girls' and young women's eyes to the world of digital and technology and the vast opportunities there. 
  • Provide them with knowledge and background idea of the spaces involved. 
  • Give practical demonstrations of skills and application in the tech-related fields. 
  • Equip them with sufficient digital skills/knowledge to allow them to take the next steps (foster conversation, further application of skills). 
Proposed approach
A multiple-layered approach is required to spread STEM career information effectively.

To start we aim to:
1. Demystify technology and overcome the misconception that tech careers are not for women

2. Create awareness of the possibilities and accessibility of tech careers
Our initial aim is to run a short, high-impact workshop that is easy for schools to accommodate in their schedules and provides a high level of engagement for the learners.

This workshop is designed to start raising awareness of careers in STEM and technology in all work fields, and provide hands-on experience of coding basics, assisted by mentors from similar backgrounds to the learners.

We are focusing on a visual and interactive format rather than a lecture, in order to provide the direct, personal experience which has proved highly effective at overcoming internal blocks caused by negative social messaging about women and technology.

Our immediate goal is to run this workshop at 5 schools in the Cape Peninsula, and 1 school in Johannesburg, during the month of August.

3. Future vision:
Once schools have experienced the initial introductory workshop, we see the workshops growing over time, in accordance with school feedback.

This could include providing speakers on technology careers in different industries, collaborating with tech & industry partners to provide more in-depth workshops, and collaborating with school committees to provide input into talks and workshops.

Logistics:
There is a low overhead for this workshop, making it an ideal place to start. However internet access is a must.

Technical requirements:
  • Schools need to be equipped with computer labs and have internet access 
  • For future: we may need to partner with a bandwidth sponsor for schools without internet access. 
  • Access to an overhead projector is preferable
Mentoring:
Project codeX has offered to provide mentors for the interactive workshop in Cape Town
We will approach partners with similar initiatives in Johannesburg

Cara can be contacted via Twitter at @Cara_Faye

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