Girls and Gadgets computing conference
Our Girls and Gadgets computer conference is designed to get girls excited about using computers and destroy the myth that computers are for boys.
The annual event was held for the first time in December 2008 and saw 200 girls from 20 schools across the region gather at the University to engage with all aspects of computer science.
Although teenage girls are now using computers and the internet at rates similar to their male peers, they are still five times less likely to consider a technology related career.
There has been a drop in the number of students taking computing- based subjects at degree level and historically women have been under represented in this field - though there is no clear evidence why.
Girls allowed to love computers
The high quality of computing courses at Teesside has been recognised by a national review undertaken by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. A report by the British Computer Society (BCS) highlighted 'the positive approach to course delivery, innovation and student support'.
The conference is organised by the School of Computing and targets school girls from year nine upwards in a bid to promote computer science as an interesting and challenging career path.
Activities at the 2008 conference included an e-journalism session, with girls interviewing guests and creating a website from the stories they compiled.
The girls were also involved in sessions on:
- computer games
- digital music
On top of all that, there were guest speakers, including Eileen Brown, who works for Microsoft UK and Siobhan Fenton, an award winning freelance producer of computer animated film.
Heather Byrne, from Eston Park School, described the event as inspirational and Rosie Connolly, from Whitby Community College, said she really enjoyed learning to use new programmes.
Alison Brown, Senior Lecturer in Computing at the University, said: ‘The first conference was a huge success and we had extremely positive feedback from the girls who attended.
‘It is now going to be an annual event and we want it to get bigger and better every year.’