More bytes for girls in IT and multimedia in Australia

Responding to the decreasing participation of girls in IT subjects, Swinburne University in Australia is running a program to motivate girls into using IT and multimedia in schools. The programme More bytes: Girls in IT is part of the Australian School Innovation in Science Technology and Mathematics (ASISTM).

The unique program aims to engage a diverse group of girls from Year 8 to 10 in IT and multimedia by giving them the chance to network and build their story of girls' culture using technology. The project brings together a diverse mix of high school girls from different backgrounds, and increases their opportunities to think creatively, to share ideas and resources, and inspires them to consider IT and multimedia as possible careers. Students will be working in groups initially within their schools to develop a project that will be shared through an electronic magazine. They will then create a brief introductory documentary which they will digitally showcase on an online forum in the near future.

The girls will work on a series of group projects using IT and multimedia challenging the popular view that IT 'is for nerds'. The idea is that by giving them a hands-on experience they will form an emotional connection with their work by giving it a sense of reality and motivation. Other projects are likely to include the development of characters through animation, use of mobile phones and Flash animation interface, and digital art pod-casting to produce a radio show. The projects will be presented at a Girl's Multimedia Conference at Swinburne in May 2006. Fitzroy Crossing District High School students in Western Australia will participate using teleconferencing. In an all girls' effort to boost female representation in the industry the final stage of the program will see female Swinburne undergraduates studying IT and multimedia mentoring the girls.

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