Reach for the stars…


Why dream in code?

In 2016 the CSIRO released a report “Tomorrow’s Digitally Enabled Workforce ( This report outlined the workforce challenges and opportunities of the future workplace and the role of technology in shaping future work.

This report gave us more questions than answers. What would this mean for young people from low-socio economic areas? What does the future workforce look like for girls and women? What role does creativity play in a technology fuelled future?

The Dream in Code co-founders (Ali, Georgia and Amanda) set out to find answers to these questions and more. We worked with teachers, parents, students, librarians, youth educators and others to find out how we could co-design something for young women that would help them to find their place in this future world of work.

What we heard was that:

  • young women might not be interested in a traditional technology focussed program where they would need to identify as a “geek girl”;
  • teachers struggle to keep up with constantly changing technology and students that know more about the field than the teachers. Teachers need resources that can help point students in the right direction where they can learn at their own pace;
  • there are a number of resources that teach young people how to make things with technology (e.g. robots or 3d printing) but there are a lack of resources that give students help to come up with ideas about what to do with that technology;
  • students that are interested in art, writing, video making or other creative areas may not identify themselves as “STEM” focussed, but include technology in their work in meaningful ways;
  • resources for students with high intellectual potential are needed, particularly in Northern Adelaide; and
  • some parents are actively looking for after school activities for their daughters to participate in that are not sport or dance.

We used this information to design our first prototype of Dream in Code which ran in late 2016 with 6 young women at 12-25 in Salisbury, South Australia. In this first prototype we had terrific engagement from the young dreamers and their parents. We learned that:

  • group learning and support between participants encourages positive social experiences and greater engagement, particularly for students that struggle to make friends within their own peer groups;
  • the workshop schedule needs to be flexible to accommodate the after school commitments of young women, including their paid employment;
  • their was a willingness to pay for the course that we offered and it was perceived as being value for money; and
  • the interests and abilities of the young women involved varied greatly but they all excelled and were challenged at various parts of the course. Having a range of extension options for modules helped students that were struggling to keep up and those that wanted to independently learn.

We had great fun in our first prototype and learned a LOT! We want to be able to take Dream in Code to as many young women as we can so we have developed our new online version to help us scale. Our aim is for Dream in Code to help young women not just be included in the technological workforce of tomorrow, but to drive the new industries of the future using their own creativity, skill and unique ideas.

Happy dreaming!

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