I was recently invited to present the work of the go_girl team to teachers and administrators at the Tucson Unified School District Teaching and Learning Summit (USA) and also to the University of Oxford IT Services Women in Technology Group for their Women in IT Public Lecture Series. I shared about our history and described our dedicated interdisciplinary team and our mission, which is to empower highly disadvantaged young women who are NEET (not in education, employment or training) by helping them to clarify and broaden their aspirations and develop their capabilities in the use of digital tools, media production and coding. One of our main goals is to help our participants develop a plan for transitioning into careers in coding, other tech-related fields or other pathways to independence.
The most exciting aspect of each presentation was sharing quotes from our participants like the ones below.
“People just think, oh, I’m making a PowerPoint presentation, but we actually made games … I didn’t know that you could actually do things like that.”
“I’ve learnt computer skills and coding. When I tell people about it, they’re quite fascinated because you never normally expect this interest to come from girls … Now whenever I’m playing Pokémon Go I’ll say to someone, ‘I know the software that was used to make Pokémon Go’. I know how to use the software so I can make the game as well.”
These quotes illustrate ‘lightbulb moments’ of our go_girls realizing that they can be creators and not just consumers of technology.
Both audiences also got a glimpse at some of the games created by the go_girls and I shared the stories behind the development of those games. It is always a pleasure to share the exciting work of the go_girl team and the positive impact on the lives of our participants! Huge thank you to the Tucson Unified School District and to the University of Oxford IT Services Women in Technology Group for inviting me to speak.