Australian teachers are being trained to teach code to 5-year-old girls

Girl Geek Academy chief Sarah Moran running a coding workshop at Queen of Peace Primary School in western Melbourne. (Source: supplied)

Technology diversity advocacy body Girl Geek Academy has started a new teacher training course today with the eventual aim to teach coding to girls aged from 5 to 8 years.

The program, named #MissMakesCode, will launch today with a sell-out coding workshop hosted at Customs House in downtown Sydney. The launch event will see primary school girls learning computer programming to build a game within the day, but the #MissMakesCode course itself is for teachers – and Girl Geek Academy is calling for 1,000 primary school teachers to take part.

Girl Geek Academy chief executive Sarah Moran said that early intervention is essential.

“It’s critical that we engage girls in technology from the age of five, so that it can become a native skill like reading and writing,” she said.

“We know that it’s easier to engage girls in technology before they have been exposed to any gender bias, as research shows that from the age of six, girls already have gendered beliefs about intelligence and they’re more likely to avoid games meant for ‘really, really smart’ children.”

The launch event in Sydney is taking place in partnership with female film festival For Films Sake. The teacher training workshops are scheduled from July or can be accessed online.

Girl Geek Academy stated the course was “created by teachers for teachers” and is also open to teacher librarians and parents of young girls. Participants will learn how to programme a computer game – a skill that the organisation says also fuels the teachers’ own career paths as well as providing technical knowledge to their students.

The group also partnered with domain registry provider AusRegistry to run a coding class this week at Queen of Peace Primary School in western Melbourne.

AusRegistry senior client services manager Maggie Whitnall said that it was “fantastic” to commemorate Girls in ICT Day with such a workshop that saw “young girls engaging with technology in a fun and creative way”.

“Increasing diversity in the technology industry is a cause we’re very passionate about, to ensure we’re creating the best possible workplaces that generate the best possible outcomes, by including a true mix of voices and experiences,” she said.

Girl Geek Academy made headlines in January for closing a $1.3 million funding round to go towards its goal of encouraging 1,000 women to establish tech startups, through its #SheHacks initiative.

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