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Build IT: Girls Building Information Tech Fluency through Design
This afterschool and summer curriculum helps middle school girls develop information technology (IT) fluency, interest in mathematics, and knowledge of IT careers.
The Build IT curricular, professional development, and assessment materials developed and co-owned by SRI and Girls Incorporated of Alameda County, California, reached more than 800 girls during a three-year project (2005–08) funded by the National Science Foundation. A two-year initial scale-up (2008–2010) was conducted within the Girls Inc. network of affiliates. Build IT is now being extended to the 1,500 program sites of Girls Inc. that reach more than 800,000 girls annually.
The Noyce Foundation has funded both the initial and ongoing scaling of Build IT. Materials are also available to any educators and youth development facilitators.
Build IT is a problem-based curriculum that capitalizes on girls’ interest in design and communication technologies and incorporates performance tasks for assessing their IT fluency. Its structured interactions with IT professionals include having girls participate in engineering design and development teams. Build IT uses the design process, assessment system, codesign for development, and a train-the-trainer approach to building science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) capacity in informal learning. This provides strategies for practitioners and opportunities for research on informal STEM learning.
Build IT’s target outcomes are to
- Motivate middle school girls to use technology and to build technology fluency
- Increase middle school girls’ interest in and desire to take high school algebra, geometry, and computer science courses in preparation for postsecondary STEM education or careers
- Increase middle school girls’ interest in IT and in pursuing IT careers
- Enhance staff capacity to provide IT fluency programming