Schools need to do more to support girls to be confident using technology
Have a look at our video and hear the staff and pupils at Lady Eleanor Holles School talk about their experiences.
The consensus is that there is no single reason why girls consistently outperform boys throughout their academic careers and then despite this academic success lag behind these boys/men in terms of salary and career progression within the first few years of their career. A pattern that continues throughout their working life.
We know the gender pay gap, the glass ceiling and the lack of progress and opportunities for women in work are multifaceted. Cultural, historical and socio-economic to name but a few are cited as reason.
Couple this with the diminishing take up of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) by girls, and we have a growing issue that needs to be addressed.
We have a skills gap. Only 17% of the UK's tech jobs are held by women. And in STEM subjects generally women make up just 13% of the workforce. In engineering women fare even worse, taking up just 8% of the jobs.
Heather Hanbury, head teacher at Lady Eleanor Holles School believes one contributory factor to this situation is the lack of use of technology by girls compared to boys. And to that end she has mandated the deployment of one to one technology in her school. She sees multiple benefits from this policy. Not only are there cost saving benefits with the huge reduction in photocopying, and benefits to the pupils from not having to carry heavy school bags full of textbooks. But the key point of using one to one devices is to make the use of IT pervasive and ubiquitous. She wants the girls at Lady Eleanor Holles School to be as comfortable using technology as the next girl (or boy). That means using technology to access curriculum content and to that end the school has deployed the Classoos digital platform. This allows the pupils to access digital textbooks and digital learning resources as well as enabling them to collaborate with each other on projects and have homework set and commented on digitally.
As Heather Hanbury freely admitted. “I am not an IT expert myself but I know the girls here will have to use technology in the world of work and at university. Therefore, we need to make the use of technology part of the girls’ everyday lives”.
Not only is this policy encouraging the use of technology and building confidence, it is also building the skills and the working practices that technology facilitates. Remote working, research and collaboration, are just few of the skills that the jobs of tomorrow will demand.
In the past take up of one to one devices in the school environment has been restricted because of the lack of relevant content. With so many publishers now making their content available on digital platforms – we are now at the time when this policy can work effectively and with impact. Add that to a platform like Classoos, which allows teachers to enhance textbooks and distribute learning materials enabling students to take their learning anywhere via their PC, tablet or smartphone we have a perfect storm of policy and content making the one on one programme viable. And with that viability we have the opportunity to address one of the barriers to girls feeling confident in using IT.
Classoos is delighted to be partnering with Lady Eleanor Holles School on this programme and doubly delighted that there are perhaps additional benefit that girls will increase their technology confidence by using one to one devices with relevant content delivered across the Classoos platform.