“A wasted opportunity for inclusion” – new publication on programming in school

Our new article (with Fay Tveranger) is out, online, open access for anyone to read!

  • Hilde G. Corneliussen and Fay Tveranger. 2018. Programming in secondary schools in Norway – a wasted opportunity for inclusion. In Proceedings of Gender&IT’18, Heilbronn, Germany, May 2018 (Gender&IT’18), ACM, New York, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.1145/3196839.3196867

It will be presented tomorrow at the so far brilliant Gender & IT 2018 conference. For those of you who won’t be there, here’s the abstract, and then go and read the whole thing here: https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=3196839.3196867

This paper discusses a pilot introducing programming as anelective in Norwegian secondary schools. Computing is a male dominated field, in Norway as in other European and Western countries. Despite the male dominance in the field, there were no gender inclusion or diversity measures included in the pilot . Theresult is an elective heavily dominated by boys and a wasted chance of attracting girls to computing.

 

What has women and technology to do with programming for children?

I had the great pleasure of talking for the regional conference “Næringsdagane” – the Business Days – 2018 for Sogn & Fjordane, at beautiful Kviknes hotel in Balestrand in beginning of May. One of the main topics of the conference was digitalisation across all sectors in society, and I was asked to talk about “women and technology” and to provide some answers to why there are so few women in IT education and occupations. The widespread digitalisation, after all, requires us to recruit from the entire population.

With my presentation titled “Programming and IT – who would have thought that would become a field for men?” I wanted to show that if we look back in time, there is an alternative story about women and technology, of “forgotten” female role models, including Ada Lovelace, Human Computers, the “ENIAC women”, and Grace Murray Hopper. Many women worked as programmers in the software business during the 1950s and 60s, and they did not think of programming as a field for men, as these quotes from Janet Abbate’s book Recoding Gender. Women’s Changing Participation in Computing from 2012 illustrate:

I was hired a programmer … It was something that women were believed to be good at

It really amazed me that these men were programmers, because I thought it was women’s work!

It never occurred to any of us that computer programming would eventually become something that was thought of as a men’s field

These images of women as suitable programmers, and programming as a suitable occupation for women, have since disappeared. The result is that we lack the vital images and good role models for girls and women to associate with in the field of IT.

In our work with Pillar 1 in NORDWIT we have interviewed women in technology related careers, and they illustrate how the lack of role models is still a challenge. When we asked about role models, one of the young women coming straight out of her master’s study said:

There were several IT companies visiting our class, but they were mostly men. It would have been more appealing and recognisable with a woman.

Another women told us:

I haven’t had any role models that… Because often there haven’t been anyone before us, in a way.

The low proportion of women is reflected in schools, with a low percentage of girls participating in the national pilot for programming in secondary school. “It’s hard to be what you cannot see”, Robin Hauser Reynolds has pointed out in an interview in USA Today. The campaign “#I-look-like-an-engineer” started after Isis Anchalee, featuring on an ad as an engineer, received a lot of attention in social media with comments doubting that she was a real engineer, suggesting she was rather a model hired to make the ad look good. History repeats itself, as the ENIAC women were also once interpreted that way – as “just refrigerator ladies posed in front of the machine to make it look good”.

How can we expect girls to choose programming at school facing a culture where even women who have chosen to work with IT can’t point at female role models, and where women who could have been role models are being distrusted as professionals?

Things obviously need to change!

It is possible to change this?
Yes!

Why?
Because history shows that today’s male dominance is not a given necessity, but a cultural construction.

How can we change it?
There is no quick fix, but still plenty of room for improvement:

  • Don’t accept that “girls just aren’t interested”. Culture shapes interest!
  • Be aware how you contribute to the image of IT. You are part of culture – make space for girls in IT.
  • Be willing to change and always ask questions: What did we do to include girls? How can we change things to include more girls?

(This post was originally written for and posted to the Nordwit blog)

Could Code Clubs be a New Arena for Increasing Girls’ Digital Interest and Competence?

Kids Code in a Rural Village in Norway: Could Code Clubs be a New Arena for Increasing Girls’ Digital Interest and Competence?, in Information, Communication & Society, 19:1, 95-110, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2015.1093529

I published this article together with Lin Prøitz in 2015, and it is now available from ICS and in a postprint version at ResearchGate: https://bit.ly/2HNg5I0

Abstract

A trend, where voluntary groups teach children and youth basic computer coding skills, has spread throughout the world. After-school clubs invite children to create games in visual programming environments. The activities emphasize play, while teaching principles of computer science. We explore this phenomenon based on observations and interviews at a code club in Norway, asking whether coding represents an important skill for children and how it is distributed to include all children. We find that coding through play activity is perceived as teaching more than simply the technical skills of programming. Although the fun aspect draws in children and volunteers, parents and instructors describe the code club as being about learning to understand and control the computer, and digital competence required for achieving success in society. The Code Club is described partly as being a ‘necessity for becoming a good/efficient/empowered citizen in our digital society’, and partly as ‘children are playing with computers anyway’. These arguments have different consequences for the gender imbalance at the Code Club. Our findings suggest that the code clubs need an explicit recruitment strategy targeting girls in order to become an arena where girls can develop interest and competence in digital technologies.

Read the full article.

This topic has unfortunately only become more relevant and it is urgent to discuss the low proportion of girls participating in programming. In about two weeks I will have a new article out on programming for youth, this time about programming in secondary schools in Norway (together with Fay Tveranger).

What’s going on in my Writing Productivity Pipeline?

Inspired by Furtak’s description of a Writing Productivity Pipeline, I started to pay more attention to how my own work spread across the different steps in the pipeline, as she suggests: from ideas to drafts, proposals, manuscripts and untill manuscripts have become articles, chapters and books in press and published.

I liked the idea of the pipeline and being aware of how projects move through the pipeline. I also enjoyed how trying to define my own pipeline actually visualised many things that otherwise just remained something I did without noticing it. In many cases our work remains invisible until it is in print, but there’s a lot of work going on before that.

Looking back at what has been going on in my own pipeline over the last two months, I am quite satisfied with:

Ideas developing
* Abstract sent to the conference (June) Fjordkonferansen about role models for women in IT – (Abstract accepted)
* Full paper sent to HCC13 – (waiting for review)

In revision
* Review received from a scientific journal on an article about Women in IT education – (needs editing, so need to work on that)

Data collection
* Continuing interviews with women working with technology, for the NCoE Nordwit
* Finished a survey on programming in school – need to move this to the next stage: analysing and writing about it.

Proposals under review
* Participant in 2 proposals sent to Gender Net Plus; one on computing and the other on health technology, both on gender. (Waiting for review phase 1, then hopefully accepted for phase 2 in June – July)
* Participant in 2 proposals about ehealth/assistive technology sent to regional and national governments in Norway – (waiting for response).

Manuscripts in draft form
* Paper presented at CENS 2018 together with – or correction: presented by, because I couldn’t go there – Carol Azungi Dralega. The presentation will be reworked to a manuscript before the summer. Part of NCoE Nordwit

In press
Two articles have been through final editing and are now in press for  the forthcomming Fjordantologien 2018:
* one on Immigrant Youth and Computer Gaming, together with Carol Azungi Dralega,
* and one about IT-forum Sogn & Fjordane, with Øyvind Heimset Larsen
* One article about programming in secondary school in Norway (together with Fay Tveranger) sent for publication in ACM proceedings for the conference Gender & IT 2018

CFP: IEEE TALE 2018 – Engineering Next-Generation Learning

Fancy a conference a warm place?

IEEE TALE 2018 will be in Wollongong in December this year!

I have not attended this conference before, but it looks interesting also in content:

TALE is the IEEE Education Society’s flagship Asia-Pacific (IEEE Region 10) conference, catering to researchers and practitioners with an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education

This year’s theme, Engineering Next-Generation Learning, adopts a future-facing perspective in addressing this dual focus. To this end, papers and other contributions are solicited that relate to two distinct but interconnected and overlapping strands:

  • Preparing the Next Generation of Engineers and Technologists
  • Engineering the Next Generation of Learning Technologies, Approaches and Environments

Gender and diversity in STEM is of course on the list!

Option for new authors to submit and receive feedback early. Otherwise deadline in June. See CFP and dates

Gendering of assistive technology / welfare technology in Norway

“About the Technology that was not Allowed to be a Technology – Discourses on Welfare Technology“
Article by myself and Kari Dyb, available online here: https://doi.org/10.18261/9788215028163-2017-09
It’s in Norwegian though, and the title as well: “Om teknologien som ikke fikk være teknologi – diskurser om velferdsteknologi”.

Abstract: Inspired by Foucault, we explore meaning created by the health authorities’ policy documents on welfare technology. We explore the meaning construction of a «technology-reducing» claim stating that «welfare technology is not about technology, but about human beings». The scientific essay illustrates how this and similar claims have gained widespread acceptance and discusses some of the effects this type of policy statements has for the users of welfare technology.

In the article, we are touching on the (difference in) gendering of health care and technology. Our starting point is critique against a slogan often repeated in Norway: “Welfare technology [assistive tech] is not about technology, but about people”.

Continue reading

We want more girls in programming classes!

Why are there so few women who choose ICT education in Norway? And how can we change this? One strategy is to start early to include girls in ICT and programming classes. Together with Eid vidaregåande we have received funding from the Norwegian Research Council to work with this challenge. Our project is tied to a national pilot for programming in secondary schools, and our goal is to create inclusive programming education where everybody, also girls, can feel that they belong. We collaborate with schools on all levels at Eid, as well as ICT experts from public and private sector and research institutions, and of course the pupils, to create an inclusive environment for programming. Our goal is to reflect how programming and ICT are both relevant and important in many different contexts, and also to present a large variety of ICT experts or “role models” in all kinds and shapes, illustrating that anybody can programme.

Here we are signing the collaboration agreement, the three headmasters and myself.
Signing the agreement about collaboration (Photo Ove Jonny Lillestøl)

CFP – HCC13: This Changes Everything

CFP for the 13th IFIP TC9 Human Choice and Computers Conference: “This Changes Everything”, to be held in Poznan, Poland, 19th-21st September 2018
Conference Chairs: David Kreps, Kai Kimppa, Louise Leenen, Charles Ess

Gender is of course a relevant topic in general for a conference like this, but there is also a track on “Gender in ICT” (Track chairs: Sisse Finken, Christina Mörtberg and Johanna Sefyrin), connected to the (sleeping)  working group (WG9.8) on Gender, Diversity and ICT.

Send your full paper before January 15, and perhaps we can revive the sleeping WG9.8 together 🙂

This conference will also be part of the 24th IFIP World Computer Congress!
 

 

Source: Call For Papers – HCC13: This Changes Everything

CFP Medical Informatics Europe 2018

Gothenburg, Sweden – 24 – 26 April 2018:
Building Continents of Knowledge in Oceans of Data: the Future of Co-Created eHealth

CFP – deadeline 01-11-2017!

MIE2018’s chosen focus is “Building Continents of Knowledge in Oceans of Data: the Future of Co-Created eHealth”, pointing to the broad range of topics in digitising health care, citizen participation, professional challenges meeting health information technology, data science, population health informatics, learning health systems, connected health and changing health systems.

Source: Call for Submissions – Mie 2018

Two new publications – open access

Fjordantologien 2017 is out, and I’m involved in two chapters – all open access!

Kapittel 4: Mediebruk, samfunnsengasjement og sosial kapital i en digital æra: På jakt etter minoritetskvinner sine stemmer

Abstract: This chapter draws from a project studying non-western immigrant women and their use of media related to social engagement. The authors explore social capital, including the digital, analysed through two women’s life biographies, community involvement and media use. Engaged in different arenas they illustrate different manifestations of social capital, one of them shows a high degree of digital social capital, while the other deploys alternative media.

 

Kapittel 9: Om teknologien som ikke fikk være teknologi – diskurser om velferdsteknologi

Abstract: Inspired by Foucault, we explore meaning created by the health authorities’ policy documents on welfare technology. We explore the meaning construction of a «technology-reducing» claim stating that «welfare technology is not about technology, but about human beings». The scientific essay illustrates how this and similar claims have gained widespread acceptance and discusses some of the effects this type of policy statements has for the users of welfare technology.

CFP for HASTAC 2017: The Possible Worlds of Digital Humanities

HASTAC 2017: The Possible Worlds of Digital Humanities, November 2-4, 2017

University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida

Submissions Deadline:  April 7, 2017

Read more on Hastac’s website: CFP
HASTAC

The conference asks for creative formats, but “no reading papers!”

We seek proposals for participant presentations in the following categories:

5-8 minute “soapbox” talks
roundtables (be creative with your format — no reading papers!)
project demos
digital and/or print posters
maker sessions or workshops
Media arts (new media, games, and electronic literature)

CFP: The Digital Everyday Conference

Interesting CFP for a conference at King’s College London to be held at May 6th 2017:

The Digital Everyday: Exploration or Alienation?

This international conference aims at exploring the digital everyday, understood as the transformation of everyday life practices brought about by digital technology. From how we buy, walk around, get a cab, love, break up, go to bed, meet new people and sexual partners to the way we rate services, turn on the fridge, exercise, eat, use social media and apps, Big Data is reshaping some of the most basic activities in our lives.

The conference will explore these digitally enabled transformations by looking at …

Read more on the KCL webpage: King’s College London – The Digital Everyday: Conference and call for papers

Deadeline for abstracts 31 January

CFP – AoIR: Networked Publics

Interesting topic for next year’s AoIR conference: “networked or digital publics” and their “role in re-constituting the public sphere”.

Workshops: 18 October 2017
Main Conference: 19-21 October 2017
University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

Proposal Submission Deadline: 1 March 2017

AoIR 2017 is the 18th annual conference of the Association of Internet Researchers, a transdisciplinary gathering of scholars interested in the place of networked technologies in social processes.

Read more on the AoIR website: Call for Proposals – AoIR