More Coding, More Girls!

by

Selçuk Yusuf Arslan, computer science teacher in Turkey

Why I started this project

It is a popular notion that female students have little interest in the field of information and communications technology. According to research, three out of four students who prefer ICT are male, whereas only 19% of girls undertake studies in the same field.

This also seems to be the case in Turkey. However, it is vital that girls who study computer science get quality education in this field and use technology efficiently. And that’s why we launched the project “More Coding More Girls” – to provide quality education to students of any gender and background.

Close the gender gap in tech by teaching girls to code

The project’s purpose is to close the gender gap in tech by teaching girls how to code. The target group of this project was composed of 20 female students and 1000 participants registered at Atatürk Vocational and Technical Anatolian High School in Altındağ, Ankara, where we organised a workshop on coding with BBC micro:bit. The reason for choosing precisely micro:bit is that it is easy to use and suitable for beginners. The workshop took five days. The students conducted eight different projects (such as bag alarm system, step counter, etc.) in two days, after which students organised a project exhibition. At the event, our students had the chance to present their work, which was a completely new experience for them.

After the students’ presentations, we organised a conference about the importance of coding in cooperation with Microsoft Global Partner and Hacettepe University Life Long Learning Center. Girls presented their projects in front of more than a thousand of their schoolmates. Following their presentations, we gave a seminar on coding and career opportunities, led by the Microsoft instructor – Mr İsmet

Benli. After the training, the students received a certificate of completion.

Collaborate for EU Code Week and Diversity in STEM Competition

School-industry collaboration takes a vital role in vocational education. Because of this, we cooperate with some organisations to conduct this project, like Microsoft Global Partner IDE and Science on Stage Europe. Our leading supporter was Science on Stage Europe who granted this project. The More Coding More Girls project was one of the winners of the Diversity in STEM Competition, organised by STEM Alliance.

What’s more, this project was awarded the Code Week Certificate of Excellence as part of the Code Week 4 All Challenge.  But soon the project grew in popularity even more. These awards drew the attention of Turkish National TV channels; it was presented on the website of Microsoft, and also on the portal of the Turkish Ministry of Education.

Thanks to these publications, the project became known among a wide range of people. In 2019, I was invited to a micro:bit live event, held in Manchester, to present the initiative. This year, I gave a presentation during the London BETT TeachMeet 2020, which further grew the popularity of “More Coding More Grils”.

The project I carried out enjoyed lots of attention within the scope of
the Europe Code Week, which makes me hope I can encourage even more
girls to learn how to code.