November 18, 2014
Call it a new online learning platform that will connect girls across the world access to online courses, tools, and resources to help them improve their knowledge in STEM related fields. The platform is The Girls in Tech Global Classroom and it will launch this December.
“The Girls in Tech Global Classroom incorporates a learning platform and social media, with additional apps and APIs to connect the two so that we can create an environment that’s conducive to how women and girls learn, and continue to gather both learning and social data to further inform us about our learners and how to best design and develop courses for them,” says Brittney Cunningham, the Director on Online Education for Girls in Tech.
The first course is a design and development course that will help girls build their own Tumblr blog and is sponsored by GoDaddy. Courses offered in the future will include topics in entrepreneurship, technology and STEM fields for women.
“We provide achievement for completion in the form of Certificates of Merit Pages, which are then socialized,” says Cunningham of the courses. “The women and girls who take our courses can continue to build their achievements and showcase them to potential employers or education providers.”
Here are a few other things you should know about the program:
- The program is getting girls interested in STEM at young age: “The first course is targeted to girls 13-18, the age girls typically move away from STEM,” says Cunningham.
- The program is creating an exciting and engaging environment for learning: “Changing the environment and creating engaging project-based courses on a social platform will create robust learning communities and networks critical for retention and completion, both of which are typically low percentage-wise for MOOCs [massive open online courses],” says Cunningham.
- They are adding a global component for all students involved: “How often does a girl in America get to take a course with girls in Dubai, Nigeria, France, Luxembourg, and Malaysia simultaneously?” says Cunningham. “Facebook allows these classes to exist 24/7 for maximum engagement and peer and mentor interaction and contributes to high retention rates,” she adds.
Girls in Tech Global Classroom: Why It’s Different from Other Online Programs
Despite the number of learning platforms offered online, The Girls in Tech Global Classroom is setting itself apart by integrating social media and data analysis to track how students are learning.
“Typically, primary and higher education do not use social media as a part of their pedagogy. This not only limits the potential for true engagement, but it limits the type of unique data that can be used to truly understand a learner,” says Cunningham.
Girls in Tech was created in February 2007 and helps promote and grow entrepreneurial and innovative women in the tech space, according to their site. Headquartered in San Francisco, the global non-profit has chapters around the world.
“The work done at the global level on the ground and the creation of such an extensive network can now be leveraged to create an opportunity for women and girls to be global learners and global citizens and create pathways of understanding that never existed before,” says Cunningham.
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