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Informal Education Evaluation
Starting in 2006, Girl Scouts of the USA was pleased to partner with the National Center for Women and IT (NCWIT) and the Motorola Foundation to undertake two significant bodies of research around proven promising practices for successful informal Information Technology (IT) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education for girls. This research was undertaken to ensure that we are providing top quality programs that successfully meet the needs of girls.
National Center for Women and IT (NCWIT)
Girl Scouts of the USA and the National Center for Women and IT conducted research over three phases: review of research; identification of promising practices; and, understanding of motivations and influences of successful women in IT.
Phase I: Review large sample of informal IT education research on girls and informal IT education.
Phase II: Identify and evaluate a sample of informal IT education programs that are now being implemented, both within Girl Scouts and in the larger community, to discover promising practices. The results of these first two phases of work were released in our Guide to Promising Practices for Informal Education IT Programs report.
Guide to Promising Practices for Informal Education IT Programs (PDF) describes the top eight promising practices identified in the study and the applications for each practice. Programs exhibiting promising practices were placed into a database of informal education programs, which is now housed and maintained on the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) Program Directory Web site.
Phase III: Survey women currently working in IT to determine what influences in early life caused them to pursue a career in computing. Results indicated that the women were motivated by the intellectual challenge of the IT field, their own abilities and skills, earning potential and a genuine interest in the field. Also uncovered was the importance of having the support of family and friends, early technology experiences, exposure to IT workplaces, access to computers, and hands-on, real-world learning opportunities in IT. These results can be found in Evaluating Promising Practices in Informal Information Technology (IT) Education for Girls (PDF).
Motorola Solutions Foundation
Girl Scouts of the USA and Motorola Solutions share a vision: Girls across the country and around the world are the future experts needed in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This vision led to joint efforts to conduct research on the most promising practices related to informal educational programming that inspires and ignites the imaginations of girls. As more girls are interested and engaged in STEM fields throughout their youth, more girls will go on to pursue careers that use STEM to solve the challenges the world faces.
Together, Girl Scouts of the USA and Motorola Solutions have researched and documented these promising practices. Informal education programs that use these practices will be more successful in engaging girls in STEM, and ultimately influencing girls' career choices.
The Guide to Promising Practices in Informal Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education for Girls (PDF) is a summary of the report findings and is available in both an online reading format and printer optimized format (PDF).