Celebrating Women & the Open Web: March Mozilla Learning Community Call

We recently relaunched the Mozilla Learning Community Call, an opportunity to connect in real time with Mozilla and to interact with others in our network who are doing their part to #teachtheweb.
For the March call, in conjunction with International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we explored topics related to teaching women and girls about technology and the Web. We were honored to have Anthony Negron from New York Hall of Science (NYSCI), Sarah Pooley from the Girl Scouts of Greater New York,  Jennifer Velez from Arizona State University’s CompuGirls program, and Baratang Miya from GirlHYPE in Cape Town, South Africa, share experiences, tips, best practices, and challenges with us as they pertain to running programs for women and young girls.
A few highlights from the discussion:   

  • Anthony Negron from New York Hall of Science shared about Girls First Studio program, a 30-hour program that engages female youth in the design process using an open source virtual world platform called New World Studio. Anthony provided great insight into why it’s important to have female role models available as facilitators in the program.

“I feel that the experience we created could be done with an all male group or co-ed environment. Knowing that the program was going to be led by two males, we wanted our explainers (high school and college aged staff that work on the museum floor and assist in workshops and camps) to be females relatively close to the student’s ages so that they can be examples of strong female role models.” – Anthony Negron, NYSCI

  • Jennifer Velez from Arizona State University spoke about CompuGirls, a culturally responsive technology program for adolescent girls (grades 8-12) from under-resourced school districts. Through experience with this particular environment, Jennifer relayed important information about the need for not only great mentor-mentee availability for the girls, but also strong training and professional development for those mentors.

“We cannot assume that every teacher will automatically “get,” or recognize the need for, culturally responsive teaching practices. [We need to] help teachers/mentors delve into their own identities as part of the professional development process.” – Jennifer Velez, ASU CompuGirls

  • Baratang Miya shared about her experience as founder of GirlHYPE, a non-profit organization in Cape Town, South Africa, which aims to empower women in STEM. She elaborated on best practices for managing obstacles participants may face in their home lives, such as creating a safe space for girls, opening up as a facilitator and mentor to those in your program (beyond the curriculum), and exuding patience.

“We have a cultural barrier as there are certain issues you can’t talk about…for example, women’s health issues. We have to teach women how to become comfortable with speaking about such things.  Although we are teaching literacy classes and computers, we also try very hard to build confidence.” – Baratang Miya, GirlHYPE

You can watch the full recording below, or on teach.mozilla.org where you can also see the complete agenda including notes and links to relevant resources.

Let’s continue this important discussion!

  • Join us for an all-day Tweetchat about women, girls and the Web on March 31 via @Mozteach. Follow us on Twitter and read this discourse thread for details.
  • This forum thread is a great place to add, suggest, or obtain tips, curriculum and resources for planning STEM-based programs geared towards women and girls.

Other Resources
This month, we’ve focused on sharing resources, practices and curriculum for women and the open web.

Join us for next month’s community call on Wednesday, April 20 – 11 AM ET/ 4pm UTC/ 5pm CET/ 9:30pm IST for a discussion on the Internet of Things.