MoW report : How to attract and retain girls and women in tech education

Ministry of Women final report on how to attract and retain girls and women in tech education. WEGC Year 12 and 13 students contributed to this report.

One quote…

“Many people have the misconception that software development is done in isolation and you’re on a computer all day – it’s more than that –promote it.”

While I encourage as much peer/group work as possible ultimately the assessments are all individual based.

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Enigma machine

Enigma machine, Computer History Museum, San Francisco, 2017

I had a talk to my Year 9 computing  students today about the Enigma machine, and the role Alan Turing had in breaking the enigma code. We also had a discussion about why he was arrested post war and his eventual suicide. Very appropriate given WEGC was celebrating annual Pride week.

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Pride week at WEGC

Staff photo to commemorate WEGC annual Pride week. This event has wide support from staff and students. Great initiative and all part of cultivating an inclusive, diverse and safe learning environment.

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Today’s students do so many interesting things…

Extract from school newsletter Welink No 6 Aug 2017

Reading this issue does give you an idea of the diversity of opportunities available to modern students for learning and exploring…


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Disappointing – who would want to referee?

I have been coaching (more like managing) a football team for the 5th year now. It’s usually quite a lot of fun and given they are second teams not super serious. We had out last game today, just a second division  playoff for 5th and 6th position. Unfortunately our usual parent was too sick to referee so it was left up to me… Conditions were good but unfortunately there were no lines people and both teams were wearing similar jerseys.

My team scored 5 minutes into the second half, I signaled a goal. However, the other coach considered it off side. Then can the tirade of abuse and harassment over the next 5 minutes. Emboldened by their coach the opposition players got quite lippy at any opportunity. At one stage I told the offending players to stop the back chat or I would send them off. I also considered calling off the game given the bullshit from the opposition coach. As I explained to deaf ears at the end of the game I am a volunteer, I can only call what I see, I don’t cheat and ultimately who cares about the result. It may have been off side but not from my perspective… and we don’t have replays…

I see why volunteers can not be bothered getting involved – I think after today I won’t be.

Footnote: I just received the following email from a student: “Thanks for putting in so much effort and dedicating your spare time to coaching us this year. Sorry our team wasn’t as organised or dedicated as we’ve been in previous years. Also, it was totally out of line for the other team’s coach to yell like that today…Anyways, thanks again!

What a poor example the opposition coach set for his own team, my team and the spectators. No matter what the perceived injustice in a football game, when the result doesn’t even matter, there is no excuse for the behavior displayed.

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“from your fave dt students”

It is nice to be appreciated. These same students communicate with me in binary code occasionally. No doubt will be brilliant IT staff one day.

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Longer Learning Times – do they work?

[Views are my own and do not represent WEGC  ]

I was reflecting the other day about why it is I seem to be covering less content over a school year, with increasingly tight deadlines, despite having reduced the number of credits on offer. There seem to be several possibilities:

  1. My teaching has got worse?
  2. The students are not as capable?
  3. More time is being wasted/lost with “out of class” activities?
  4. Students are less productive?
  5. Time for the subject has been reduced (a little anyway)?
  6. False sense of security – thinking I have more time than I do…
  7. 90/100 minute lessons rather than 50/60 minutes?

At this stage I am thinking 90/100 minute lessons is the most likely candidate. I find students concentration lapses after 45 minutes at most… even with variety of activities, mid lesson breaks, free Pepsi (just kidding).  When they are away for one day they miss the equivalent of two lessons rather than only one lesson, this makes it hard to catch up. Then again maybe I am wrong about this and there is some other reason.)

Anecdotally I hear from teachers that have moved to other schools that they find 50/60 minutes more productive, but I have no evidence as such… Maybe this can be subject to a small “teacher inquiry” at some stage.

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