Reach for the stars…


What have we heard while dreaming?

When we set out on the Dream in Code journey we had nothing but some good intentions, an internet connection and an unwavering belief that including young women in creative co-design would help us to create something that they would want and would use. Armed with some ideas that we thought were great we headed off to the big wide world and learned a LOT!

Access to skills

We had assumed that young women would either have access to technology skills at school and would be doing well or that they wouldn’t have access and might not be interested. What we found was that there is a broad spectrum of skills, access and interest. For some young women school was a great supportive environment with lots of opportunity to develop quite advanced skills in robotics, coding and more. For others there wasn’t much exposure to school based technology but there was a strong desire to access self-paced learning through short courses and support forums online. For the majority of the young women that we spoke to this was a brand new area that they had not yet been exposed to and we were amongst the first to introduce them to many of the concepts in the Dream in Code curriculum.

Learning together

We had assumed that young women would be happy to learn in a self-paced way that they could do independently and when it suited them. While this was true in terms of formal learning, we heard from all participants that having a group social environment where they could develop a sense of belonging was as important as the course itself. Going through the process of learning completely new things with others was one of the most rewarding parts of the course.

Value for money

We had heard from a lot of people that if we wanted to run a program in a disadvantaged or under resourced area that would need to provide it for free or get a grant. As we were self-funded this wasn’t an option for us. We also wanted to demonstrate that we could create something powerful without having to rely on hard-to-get grant funding. We found that the participants parents (who were ultimately the ones paying!) were comfortable with the $39 price tag and that it was much cheaper than sports, ballet and other after school activities. We heard that it the course was good value for money. This doesn’t mean that everyone will always be able to pay, but we learned that we can provide genuine hardship support while building an affordable and financially sustainable program.

It’s not about the tech

We had heard that there was a need to encourage more girls into tech and assumed that this meant technical training. What we heard from participants and their teachers is that there is a lot of technical information available for free or for low cost online, but that young women needed help to understand what they could do with it (understanding how to come up with their own ideas) and to connect the dots to the great online technical training. We learned that we can focus on building up confidence, creativity and connection.

Happy dreaming!

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