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Women and Computing educational video planned

Date Posted:12/05/2014

Educational VideoAn online video resource for schools to use to encourage more women in computing is to be created by the award-winning team of TNMOC, the London Grid for Learning (LGfL) and the East of England Broadband Network (E2BN). This follows the team's highly successful History of Computing resource which was acclaimed at this year's BETT awards and is now available to 25,000 UK schools connected to the National Education Network.

The women in computing resource will be created this summer at TNMOC where it will take as its starting point the Women in Computing Gallery, sponsored by Google UK and opened in September 2013. It will include an interactive timeline highlighting the role of women in computing across the decades starting with the 1944 operators of Colossus. The resource will also explore the past and current challenges that women face in entering the industry and the changing social context of the past seven decades. Role models will feature strongly to give the coming generation the confidence to know that they can play a major role in computing.

Like the earlier History of Computing, the completed Woman and Computing resource will become available online, ready for use in classroom settings of schools connected to the National Education Network. Scheduled for release in 2015, it is expected to contain about 50 video clips designed for easy and rapid access. The resource will incorporate curriculum support material for Key Stages 2 to 5.

Kathy Olson from E2BN, who helped initiate the History of Computing resource, will present the forthcoming Women and Computing project. Introducing the project she said: "Women are woefully under-represented in the world of computing accounting for only 17% of the IT and telecoms industry workforce*. I was lucky enough to be inspired to take up computing by a dynamic teacher, so I realise the significance of role models. I hope that the stories of the women in computing that we will be able to tell in this new resource will act as a catalyst to encourage more girls into computing careers. As Karen Spärck Jones, a pioneer of computer search techniques, quipped: 'Computing is too important to be left to men'".

Chris Monk, Leaning Co-ordinator at TNMOC, said: "Over the past year fewer than one in twenty of our visiting students have been girls. However a recent increase in the number of all-girl schools visiting proves that girls do want to study computing and need encouragement. Our museum will continue to promote the role of women in computing history and we are eager to partner LGfL in producing what we believe will be an inspiring resource."

The LGfL partner in the project, Bob Usher, said: "A History of Computing is the most successful resource LGfL has ever produced. The feedback from schools has been very encouraging, so we are very confident that the planned Women and Computing resource will be in high demand. The National Museum of Computing is a great place to base our filming because it tells so much of our computing history in an engaging, interactive way. And it is always developing: I have just returned to film the fully-restored 1951 WITCH computer which, unlike today's computers, is so visual in operation that it gives unexpected insights into modern computing."