Girl Scouts and Technology
The computer lab was electric. Girls in yellow surged through the door and eagerly took their chairs, excited to begin creating their very own blog. A WWNO reporter strolled around the room, interviewing several of the young women about their experience. It was clear from their smiles and laughter this wasn’t a day that they would forget anytime soon…
On June 21, 2014, some sixteen hundred Girl Scouts took over the Dillard University campus for the STEM Extravaganza hosted by the Girl Scouts of East Louisiana. Among the many panels and workshops available at the event, Get Online NOLA was proud to host our own WordPress Blog Workshop
We had three sessions, roughly 30 minutes long in which to show these inquisitive young women how to navigate the world of WordPress. During this time, they learned how to create pages & posts, embed images and youtube videos, make hyperlinks to outside web pages (including the Girl Scouts of East Louisiana home page and to their fellow scouts’ websites in the workshop- they really enjoyed linking to their BFF’s site!), and change their site’s theme. Some of the girls even got to play around in the code, and see how the HTML worked.
Perhaps one of the coolest things at the workshop was seeing the parents getting involved in helping their children create websites. Several mothers and troop leaders expressed interest in learning how to create a blog post and were incredibly appreciative of the workshop.
Get Online NOLA shared our personal websites with the troop, and the girls expressed particular interest in Photoshop and Illustrator programs and were curious how to get their hands on that kind of software to design similar sites. Future web designers? We can only hope.
At the end of the day roughly fifty to sixty Girl Scouts attended the workshop. After a long day of working side by side to create engaging and unique websites, we hope we were able to pique their interest, and from the looks of excitement and curiosity, I would say that we succeeded.
Exciting Young Minds, Shaping Bright Futures
Workshops like these are incredibly important for young girls who are in the early stages of determining the paths of their own lives. Digital media and design stirs up their curiosity and encourages them to see technology as a forum for creativity, connection, and individuality. The hope is that this curiosity will lead to careers in STEM-related fields, which could make the difference between having a high-earning career and one that allows them to barely scrape by.
According to a fact sheet on WhiteHouse.gov, “The Department of Commerce’s Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation (August 2011) revealed that, though they represent a mere 24 percent of the STEM workforce, women earn on average 33 percent more when they work in these high-growth fields.”
And in this increasingly technological and fast-paced world, it is becoming ever more important for young women to possess skills that will allow them to compete for high-paying jobs. This is why it is up to us to encourage exploration in STEM fields.
The PBS special program SciGirls tells us that we should be constantly encouraging young women to question the world around them, and that we can provide a STEM-friendly home so that girls can grow up with equal opportunities. As parents, friends, and community members, it is important that we all “talk the tech talk,” and nurture the next generation of tech savvy workers. Get Online NOLA is excited to be a part of the process.