Thursday, 7 December 2017

I Am Science – a new free Science app offering great opportunities for high school girls in disadvantaged areas

SchoolNet SA was invited to brainstorm at the Goethe Institut more than a year ago.  It is most pleasing to now report on the outcome - a new Science learning app called I am Science which targets early high school girls in disadvantaged areas and aims to smash gender stereotyping in science, biased against girls and women.   The initiative is being implemented by the Goethe-Institut with support from the GIZ and financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The Goethe Institut was concerned that only 30% of science researchers in the world are women and the gender, digital and science divide has only increased in developing countries since 2013. Bridging this gap is complicated because its roots run deep. Unequal access to education for girls; gender stereotypes and poor access to science labs are just some of the obstacles in the way of girls being curious about science and technology.

That's where I Am Science comes in. The project combines science activities; video, and digital learning with the dual aim of increasing curiosity in science and changing perceptions about girls in science. At after-school events, the project offers groups of girls the chance to do hands-on science activities and be professionally filmed doing these. The videos are then turned into video quizzes and published on a popular learning app:  where other South African teens can earn data and airtime as a reward for doing them.

Want to get more involved? Teens can use the mobisite to apply for the I am Science team from the Goethe Institut to visit their school. Are you a teacher looking for unique, supplementary teaching content? The videos are divided into categories such as ‘Catalysts’ and ‘Air pressure’ on the mobisite and are a great way to introduce peer-to-peer learning into your classroom.
Through I Am Science, teen girls will touch, hear and see the scientific concepts they’ve only heard about from words on a chalkboard. They are able to watch themselves and their peers in high-quality videos of science activities. They are able to say, ‘I am science’, because science is all around us. And it is for everyone, no matter who you are, or where you come from.

For the past 2 months, I Am Science has implemented programmes at 3 Gauteng schools. Professionally-produced videos of girls from Soweto, Tembisa and Alexandra doing hands-on science activities have been uploaded to YouTube & turned into video quizzes - published on the learning app Levelup.  @_IAmScience is the first project in South Africa to co-create peer-to-peer, educational, science video content with girls. The Levelup app allows teen users to earn digital tokens for submitting correct answers which are redeemable for airtime and data.  Visit the app to see how it works:
  1. I Am Science - How do you crush a can without standing on it? 
  2. Can you set your hand on fire without burning it? 
  3. How do you make a fire without using matches?

As reported by Fundisiwe Maseko in IT News Africa, “Not only do girls get to star in a professional video in which they demonstrate science activities but the programme also allows for time to demonstrate these to their classmates and teachers, thereby flipping traditional teaching-learning roles.  Through the creation and dissemination of free and unique science learning content, the project will continue in 2018 to contribute towards the ultimate goal of propelling more girls towards science-related career. “

For further information visit the project website

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