Katie Rowe

Year 8 is the drop off point for girls in IT: Digital Careers

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Encouraging girls to study careers in technology towards the end of high school could be too late, according to research by Digital Careers, which looked at the participation of girls in this year’s.

The independent organisation, which promotes careers in technology, conducted research on the 20,000 students who participated in this year’s challenge, across 300 schools all around Australia.

It found that participation of girls was consistently strong up until Years 7 and 8 where it started to drop off to 45 per cent of female participation, declining to 31 per cent in Years 9 and 10, and only 20 per cent in Years 11 and 12.

The results showed that the drop off point starts at Year 8, making it crucial to encourage girls to keep engaged and interested in IT early in their high school years rather than later.

“Although there has been a pattern identified amongst female students – a drop off in ICT subjects in high school – this result has given us the insight needed to further develop and work towards re-engaging girls in digital technologies,” said Digital Careers national director, Karsten Schulz.

“It is important that this trend is addressed and that students have the requisite skills to participate in the workforce of the future. At Digital Careers we take a dual approach of engaging with students through fun, experiential digital technology programs, as well as empowering teachers and educators through training and workshops.”

Last year, Digital Careers partnered with Bebras to include Australia in its challenge to encourage Australian students to get involved in learning technology skills.

“I find Bebras a great challenge for our kids and find it helps to promote computational thinking with our teachers and students. With the new Australian Digital Technologies curriculum now endorsed from next year, it is a great resource,” said Tony Hall, from William Carey Christian School in NSW.

NOTE: Originally published: http://www.cio.com.au/article/588684/year-8-drop-off-point-girls-it-digital-careers/

Australian Champion in Computational Thinking Challenge

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Year 3 student Nathan Ward was the only student in Australia to achieve a perfect score of 135 in his age group in the 2014 Bebras Australian Computational Thinking Challenge which was held in September. Nathan has been named as an Australian Champion and is one of only 2 students in his age group to have his name on the Australian Honour Role.

Bebras is an international initiative whose goal is to promote computational thinking for students ages 8 – 17 in years 3 – 12. Bebras is run by NICTA under the Digital Careers Program and funded by the Australian Government as represented by the Department of Communications.

The challenges are made up of a set of short questions called Bebras tasks and are delivered via the cloud. The tasks are clearly related to computational thinking concepts. To solve tasks students are required to think in and about information, discrete structures, computation, data processing, and algorithmic concepts. Each task can both demonstrate an aspect of computational thinking and test the talent of the participant. Participants had 15 problems to solve. The problems were presented under three levels of difficulty – Easy, medium and hard – each consisting of 5 questions. The questions get progressively more difficult as students advance upwards through the school system.

Nathan said “The Bebra’s Challenge was great! I really liked answering the computer science maths questions. It was awesome fun. I was surprised to find out I was the Year 3/4 Australian Champion. I am very happy and cannot wait to do another challenge like this one.”

NOTE: Originally published https://cairnssde.eq.edu.au/Calendarandnews/News/Pages/Australian-Champion-in-Computational-Thinking-Challenge-.aspx


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