Insights

Make your own Tech Girl - here´s the recipe!

January 14, 2016

Over the past year, we in Sweden have worked with over 80 sixth-grade girls to spark their interest in and increase their knowledge of programming.

We had never done anything like this before when we started, and had no idea what the outcome would be. We are both touched and fascinated by what a positive effect Tech Girl has had on the girls. We are excited to continue teaching programming to new girls and at new schools, so we want to share our basic recipe for making your own Tech Girl.

After finishing Tech Girl lessions, we asked 50 of the girls what they want to work with when they grow up. And 22 of them want to become programmers :)

The basic recipe for creating your own Tech Girl

Ingredients for 12 girls

  • 4 lessons in Scratch of 90 minutes each
  • Two lessons in HTML programming
  • 1 visit to the visualization studio and robotics lab at KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) – optional, but provides a major inspirational boost.
  • 12 computers
  • 3-4 instructors

What to do

  1. For the Scratch lessons: Download reference material Barnhack at .SE (in Swedish) from the site Iis.se.
  2. Check out the film describing how to go about it (in Swedish), an example in English here.
  3. Set up a meeting with the children you want to teach.
  4. Make sure that each child has a computer.
  5. Start the lab module as described in step 1. Don't worry, the children will get the hang of things very quickly.
  6. Contact KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) to see if you can arrange a visit.
  7. Enjoy watching the children develop and learn!

If you want to teach Internet basics, we recommend using atom.io as the HTML editor.

What we have learned:

- it's fast
- it's relatively easy
- it affects the girls in a way that we had no idea about before we got started.

Our vision, of course, is for this type of lesson to be an integral part of the school curriculum, and that the teaching of programming should not have to be based on individual initiatives like this one. Until we have reached that point in Sweden, we will continue to disseminate information and knowledge about how to get more kids to start programming, and how to reach out to more girls! 

We know that there will be a worldwide shortage numbering several millions in 2020. We know that the shortage of programmers will be a threat to our position, and we are worried that the Swedish school system is falling behind in terms of teaching programming and imparting an understanding of technology to our children and teachers alike.

We believe that:

  • everyone can program
  • more girls need to be included
  • programming and the world of digital technology should be a priority subject at school

Read more about Tech Girl here - What is Tech Girl?