Crack­ing gen­der code

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By MON­TANA ARDON

ST Hilda's Angli­can Girls’ School is on a mis­sion to bust the myth that in­for­ma­tion technology is a man’s world only.

To com­bat this com­mon mis­con­cep­tion, Head of Ju­nior School An­drea Mc­nally has in­tro­duced cod­ing – the lan­guage of com­put­ers – into the cur­ricu­lum for pri­mary stu­dents.

“Last year, St Hilda’s es­tab­lished a des­ig­nated STEM (sci­ence, technology, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics) based pro­gram em­bed­ded into the timetable,” Ms Mc­nally said.

“All the re­search shows we need to start it ear­lier. We’re see­ing it as a new lan­guage and it needs to be taught the same way as we teach lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy.”

As well as in­clud­ing cod­ing in the cur­ricu­lum, St Hilda’s signed on with Code Camp – a pro­gram that runs school hol­i­day pro­grams.

Code Camp city di­rec­tor Magda Thibault said cod­ing was im­por­tant for both gen­ders to learn.

“We are big on work­ing with girls schools be­cause of the gen­der gap in technology,” she said.

“Fewer than 28 per cent of women in Aus­tralia are rep­re­sented in tech jobs, so it im­por­tant we en­gage girls and pique their in­ter­est early on.

“Cod­ing is im­por­tant go­ing for­ward for jobs of the fu­ture, not just for IT but also for logic and prob­lem solv­ing.”

Ms Mc­nally said the best part about cod­ing was it was good fun.

“Be­cause there’s a gam­ing el­e­ment, stu­dents learn­ing to code in a fun way,” she said.

“In­tro­duc­ing cod­ing al­lows the girls a greater choice in their se­condary ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Our fo­cus for the girls is for them to have that breadth in the work­force that at the mo­ment is show­ing that huge gen­der gap.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d470112

St Hilda's Angli­can Girls’ School stu­dents Olivia and Katelin Priddy are in­volved in Code Camp.

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