Women continue to be underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). While women graduate with university degrees at a higher rate than men, research from Catalyst shows that only about a third of women in the US and Canada who attended a post-secondary program opted for a STEM degree. This gender gap not only limits the potential of countless talented women but also hinders innovation in these critical industries. To address this disparity, Dell Technologies and Microsoft have joined forces to launch the Girls Who Game pilot program, an initiative designed to increase young girls’ access to technology and prepare them for success in a digital world.
Minecraft: An Innovative Tool for Learning
The Girls Who Game program offers an extracurricular gaming experience that allows female students to learn through play. The program uses Minecraft: Education Edition, a popular sandbox video game that encourages players to build, explore, and problem-solve in a virtual world. By using Minecraft, the program aims to foster global competencies and computational thinking in young girls. With the help of customizable Minecraft skins, participants can create unique avatars that represent their personal style, enhancing their sense of agency and ownership in the game.
Unleashing Creativity and Collaboration
Minecraft: Education Edition enables students to engage in creative problem-solving by offering endless possibilities for design and construction. As they build and modify their virtual environments, girls develop spatial reasoning, design thinking, and engineering skills – all vital components of a STEM education. Moreover, the program encourages collaboration, requiring participants to work together on projects, share resources, and communicate effectively. This collaborative approach helps girls develop teamwork and leadership skills, preparing them for future careers in STEM fields.
Fostering Computational Thinking
Girls who Game goes beyond just teaching girls how to play Minecraft; it actively helps them develop computational thinking skills. Computational thinking involves understanding how to solve problems by breaking them down into smaller tasks, analyzing data, identifying patterns, and creating algorithms. These skills are crucial for success in STEM fields and are easily transferable to other aspects of life. By engaging in Minecraft’s virtual world, girls can practice and refine their computational thinking abilities in a fun and accessible way.
Building Confidence in STEM
One of the primary goals of the Girls Who Game program is to help girls build confidence in their STEM abilities. By providing a supportive environment where girls can explore technology, the program aims to foster a positive attitude towards STEM subjects. As girls complete projects and overcome challenges in Minecraft, they develop a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work. This confidence can translate into increased interest and engagement in STEM-related courses and activities, ultimately leading to more women pursuing careers in these fields.
Preparing for the Digital World
Today’s world is increasingly driven by technology, and proficiency in digital skills is essential for success in many industries. The Girls Who Game program empowers female students to develop digital literacy through hands-on experience with technology. By participating in the program, girls learn how to use software tools, navigate virtual environments, and understand the principles behind game design. These digital skills are valuable assets that can open doors to various career opportunities in STEM and beyond.
The Girls Who Game pilot program is an innovative approach to closing the gender gap in STEM education. By harnessing the power of Minecraft: Education Edition, the program encourages female students to develop critical skills like computational thinking, collaboration, and digital literacy. As more girls become confident in their abilities and engaged with STEM subjects, we can expect to see an increase in women pursuing careers in these vital fields. The partnership between Dell Technologies and Microsoft demonstrates a strong commitment to empowering the next generation of women in STEM.