GoGirl: Code and Create

IT Innovation ChallengesStaff project based in the Department of Education

Hilary round 2015

See also go_girl Symposium (blog post)

For more information, see http://www.gogirloxford.org
Twitter: @gogirlteam


Teenage girls from disadvantaged socio‐economic backgrounds living in neighbouring towns around Oxford with a high percentage of social housing are a highly marginalised group. Many of these neighbourhoods show only low participation in higher education. Accordingly, young women from these neighbouring towns constitute a very small percentage of applicants to the University of Oxford – a position that needs to change.

In line with Oxford’s targets in its Access Agreement with the Office for Fair Access, this interdisciplinary project will complement existing programmes aimed at widening access (for example: UNIQ and Learning centre), but tackle the problem in a fundamentally new way using technology. It will seek to help broaden the aspirations of teenage girls by engaging them in three inter-related ways:

  1. Exploring history – through creatively exploring the experience of women at Oxford through the ages, the challenges they faced, and how they overcame them, the project seeks to encourage the teenage girls to make visible the struggle of minorities and their untold stories, and in the process to help them discover their own voices and aspirations.
  2. Media production -­‐ the girls will storyboard and video record a series of short vignettes on their mobile phones, in which the girls tell the women’s stories. (For example, the story of Lady Kofoworola Abeni Ademola, who in 1935 became the first African woman to gain an Oxford degree, but had to overcome considerable struggles and social ostracism by her contemporaries.) Group work will focus on developing media production skills relating the history of these women and the barriers they overcame to the girls’ own experiences.
  3. Developing programming skills -­‐ Training the girls in using state‐of‐the‐art tools (e.g. http://www.phonegap.com)  to   enable     them    to    develop     mobile    applications    that present the experience of “Women at Oxford” in an interactive and engaging form This will help raise awareness of the under-­‐representation of women in coding.

The project will draw on the expertise of an interdisciplinary team at the Department of Education with experience in new media engagement of young women from disadvantaged socio-­‐economic backgrounds, collaborative design, participatory action research, and the training in and development of coding skills.

The girls will work together in small groups to develop the content, story and architecture of the mobile application. The app will be made freely available for download with a launch at the Department of Education.

The project will result in the empowerment and capacity development of the girls involved, and the University will benefit from gaining new insight into the girls’ perspectives of the University, in line with Oxford’s Access Agreement target categories.

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