Malta Information Technology Agency
Malta, 2014, April 24
To commemorate 'Girls in ICT Day', the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) hosted a half-day series of interactive workshops for girls aged 10-12 from various schools in Malta on 24 April. The MITA is a proud member of the European Centre for Women in Technology which has pledged to host events aimed towards engaging more females in ICT and STEM studies and careers.
The 'Girls in ICT Day' event gave much needed exposure and education to girls about fun and exciting STEM. During the event, the girls were guided through a series of hands-on activities that focused on all four components of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths. The activities were girl-led with a 'learn by doing' approach and they worked in small groups to complete tasks. Each girl's creativity and individual talents were nurtured in the relaxed and less-obvious academic setting.
Guest speakers included the GTech Girls who spoke about their experience with ICT and their new app geared toward young girls. At another technology workshop, a student from the University of Malta taught the girls how to create their own games using Scratch software. During the Science and Engineering workshops, the girls conducted experiments where they learned how to build a rocket and a watercraft out of recycled materials.
ICT professionals from the Institute of Computer Education (ICE) Malta hosted a Robotics workshop using Lego NXT robots. The girls learned the basics of robotics, the functions of sensors, and were able to experiment programming the robots. Managing Director ICE Malta, Nikolai Sammut, said, "As a leading ICT institute in the Maltese islands, we have designed a number of communication campaigns, competitions and events to share that the IT industry includes endless career opportunities for our young generation - girls included. We're proud to be a part of this special celebration at MITA and we look forward to continue to design study paths leading to coding, games, technical and creativity which are all multi-billion euro industries."
Getting girls involved in STEM activities not only fosters their STEM skills, but also helps to develop their internal attributes such as motivation, work ethic, curiosity, patience, and confidence. The hands-on activities at 'Girls in ICT' day helped them to think like programmers, engineers, and scientists and propose solutions to common problems. Women and girls can use technologies such as smart phones and broadband Internet access to make their voices heard, gain access to more educational opportunities and have a greater role in determining their future.
Adults should encourage young girls to inquire about the world, solve problems, and to use their natural curiosity, creativity, and experimentation when at play. Women and girls hold the key to creating more prosperous and developed societies if they can access knowledge, education, and the tools to innovate within their communities.