Lynn told about the Digigirlz programme, which introduces young girls between 12 and 17 years old to technology.
Why a Digigirlz initiative?
Girls still represent a serious minority in IT business environments. Lynn says the latter is especially a problem in Europe and North America: “At conferences in the US, I meet female developers from India, Asia,… and they always ask me where ‘our’ IT women are. And it’s true: 97% of IT conference attendees in Europe or the United States are male. So if we don’t take action to do something about it, nobody will. And the situation will never change.”
What does Digigirlz do?
The programme organizes among others free workshops and camps, at which girls learn to make their own virtual games and worlds. According to Langit, the girls love it ánd they get the hang of it pretty quickly. Lynn herself is responsible for the South Californian Digigirlz programme.
Microsoft did a lot of research on what girls like and dislike when it comes to technology. According to Langit, girls love to create their own worlds and they hate the thought of sitting in front of a computer and type. Knowing how to get girls involved in technology (and how not to) is one of the reasons why the programme is so succesful, I presume.
Langyt also presented Kodu:
“Kodu is a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. The programming environment runs on the Xbox, allowing rapid design iteration using only a game controller for input.” Source: Kodu
According to Langyt, a lot of effort has been put into making the Kodu language and its possibilities attractive both for boys and girls.
I think it’s great Microsoft introduces the wonderful world of IT to children and girls. Because let’s face it: technology really is fun, right?