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Digital Divas


Appendix A


This appendix contains details of the schools, teachers and Expert Divas. Where a school taught Digital Divas more than once and if a second or third teacher taught it, the order of the listed teachers is the order they taught in.

School Teacher/s ED
Bartik Secondary College Alice John Allison, Olga Marg, Sally
Clarke Secondary College Jane Li
Forsythe Girls’ High School Stephen Delia
Goldstine Secondary College Jay Eve Bala
Holberton Secondary College Di Deanne Natalie, Shanta Deanne
Koss College Alysa (small class no ED appointed)
Mayer Secondary College Melanie Eve
McAllister Secondary College Ellie Lee Amiti, Kirsten Olive, Sabina
Moffatt Secondary College Jen Kelly
Spertus College Rosa Kim

In this section we provide a brief biography for each of the women whose names we adopted for the schools’ pseudonyms.

Bartik Secondary College

In 1946 six women were chosen from a group of 100 to become ‘computers’ and it was their job to write the machine code for the ENIAC (Gürer 2002). Elizabeth Jean Jennings (later Bartik) was one of these women. Bartik (Dec 27, 1924–Mar 23, 2011) had graduated in 1945 from Northwest Missouri State Teachers College, with a major in mathematics, where she had often been the only girl in the class (Fritz 1996). Instead of starting work as a teacher Jean joined the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. It was from there that she was recruited as one of six women to become computers (now known as programmers) for the new machine being completed at the Moore School for the Army’s Ballistics Research Laboratories. Fritz (1996, p13) explains that ‘the job of computers was critical to the war effort, and women were regarded as capable of doing the work more rapidly and accurately than men. By 1943, and for the balance of World War II, essentially all computers were women as were their direct supervisors.’ The women were given the diagrams of the machine and then asked to make it perform numerical calculations, even though there were no user manuals or instruction on how to program such a machine. After the war Jean remained active in the computing field, combining work with raising a family.

Sources: Gürer 2002; Fritz 1996

Clarke Secondary College

Edith Clarke (10 Feb, 1833–29 Oct, 1959) was a pioneer for women in both engineering and computing. She graduated with an honours degree in Mathematics in 1908 from Vassar College. In 1911 she worked as a ‘computor assistant’ (skilled mathematician) at AT&T where she stayed to train and directed other ‘computors’. In 1919 Edith was the first woman graduate from the Electrical Engineering program at MIT earning her MSc. Degree. She then worked as a computor for General Electric in New York. In 1921 she filed a patent for a ‘graphical calculator’ that was used in solving electric power transmission line problems. Later she became an Electrical Engineering professor at the University of Texas, Austin and its first female teacher of engineering

Sources: Edison Tech Centre n.d; The Ada project, n.d.

Forsythe Secondary College

Alexandra Illmer Forsythe (May 20, 1918–Jan 2, 1980) is best known for a series of several books on computing and computer science. She was also a good mathematician and computer programmer in her own right. She wrote the first textbook on Computer Science and was co-author of many more which were published by Wiley and Sons or Academic Press. Her final book was published in 1978 on Programming Language Structures.

Sources: The Ada project

Goldstine Secondary College

Dr Adele Goldstine (21 Dec, 1920–Nov 1964) was a mathematician who created an improved programming system for the ENIAC, one of the world’s first electronic digital computers, at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1940s. Adele was the author of the two-volume ‘Technical Report on ENIAC’ which was the original technical description of the ENIAC (Gürer 2002). This manual detailed everything about the logical operation of the machine. In 1946, Adele implemented a stored program modification to the ENIAC. Consequently the programmers no longer ‘had to manually plug and unplug cables for reprogramming every time but the computer was able to perform a set of fifty stored instructions’ (IEEE, 2013). Goldstine combined her career with marriage and two children. She died, from cancer, in 1964 at the age of forty-three.

Sources: Fritz 1996; Gürer 2002; IEEE 2013

Holberton Secondary College

Betty Holberton (7 Mar, 1917–8 Dec, 2001) was also one of six ‘computers’ hired to be the first programmers for the ENIAC project in 1945 (Fritz, 1996). Betty was involved later in programming the UNIVAC I. During her time working on the UNIVAC I, Holberton developed strategies to enable sorting – so that records could be put in order dependent upon a certain key (Gürer, 2002). In 1951 Holberton devised the first sort-merge generator, which was a large step forward as it was the beginning of using a computer to write programs and a step towards the invention of the world’s first business programming language, FlowMatic, by Grace Hopper (Spertus and Gürer 2003). Betty also played a major role in the development of the language Fortran, helping to monitor and control its standardisation. Betty retired in 1983 after her professional career had spanned four decades (Fritz, 1996).

Sources: Fritz 1996; Gürer 2002; Spertus and Gürer 2003

Koss Community College

Adele Mildred (Milly) Koss became a programmer/analyst after graduating with a mathematics degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She worked with Grace Hopper on the UNIVAC I, the Editing Generator in 1952 and contributed to the development of the first compilers, the A0 and A2. In a career spanning 47 years she covered all phases of computer technology, implementation and management, including applications design and development, software/hardware selection, database technologies and computer security. Milly was one of seven women honoured with a Pioneer Award at the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing, San Jose, California in September 1997.

Sources: Goyal 1996; Koss, 2003

McAllister Secondary College

Another of the women who worked as a programmer for the ENIAC was Homé McAllister. Homé McAllister (3 Jan 1925–) was a mathematician who worked as a programmer on the ENIAC, EDVAC and ORDVAC. She married George Reitwiesner, another Ballistics Research Laboratory employee. Together, in 1951, they used the ENIAC to solve the diagonalisation of a set of symmetrical matrices. Homé McAllister retired from government service in 1955.

Sources: Fritz, 1994

Meltzer Secondary College

Marlyn Meltzer (1922–2008) was selected in 1945 by the US Army to program the ENIAC computer. She was therefore one of the first six programmers (‘computers’) in the world. Marlyn was inducted into the WITI Hall of Fame on June 5, 1997.

Sources: Eniac programmers project

Moffatt Secondary College

Ann Moffatt commenced working in the computing industry in 1959 (FITT, nd). While working with the FI Group in the UK on projects such as the ‘black-box’ for the Concorde airplane, she was instrumental in introducing teleworking which enabled women to work from home while raising their children (Pearcey Foundation, 2011). Ann was a member of the British Standard Institution’s Committee for Programming Languages (1965–74), was chair of the British Computer Society’s CODASYL working group on database design and advisor to the British Science Museum on their Computing Gallery (Bennett, 1994). After immigrating to Australia in 1974, she has been a member of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Privacy Inquiry and the Australian Standards Association’s Committee for Open Systems Interpretivist-connection. She was organising chair of the ACS/IFIP Joint International Symposium on Information Systems (JISIS) in 1984, representative for Australian business on the NSW Department of Education’s Computer Advisory Committee (1984-6), chair, NSW Software Industry Association (1985–7) and chair ACS New South Wales (Bennett,1994). Ann is a Fellow of the British Computer Society as well as a member of the Australian Computer Society. Ann established the not-for-profit network Females in Information Technology and Telecommunications (FITT, nd).

Sources: FITT n.d.; Bennett 1994; Pearcey Foundation, 2011

Spertus Secondary College

Ellen Spertus graduated from Massachutts Institute of technology with a degree in Computer Science and Engineering. She also has a Masters degree and a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Her PhD explored the issues of women in computer science and she found persistent discrimination against women in the field. She found that it wasn’t the women being stupid, but all the barriers against them. Spertus has recently been working at Google on App Inventor for Android, a block-based development platform with a graphical user interface that lets developers and amateurs alike create applications for Android. In May 2011, the book App Inventor was published by O’Reilly Media, co-authored by Spertus and David Wolber, Hal Abelson, and Liz Looney.

Appendix B

Student Survey Instruments

Pre- Survey for Students

Post- Survey for Students

Appendix C

Teacher Survey Instruments

Pre- Survey for Teachers

Post- Survey for Teachers

Appendix D

Focus Group and Interview Instruments

Pre- Focus Group Questions for Girls

1. What sorts of activities do you enjoy most on the computer?

2. What do you predominately use the computer for? School assignments? Keeping in touch with friends? Etc. …

3. Do you think that more boys than girls study ICT subjects at school? If yes, why do you think this is the case?

4. Does working in an ICT job appeal to you? Why? Why not?

5. Do you know any women who work in ICT? If yes, what do you think they do? What do you think their day looks like?

6. How confident do you feel when asked to complete technology tasks?

7. How important are ICT skills in everyday life?

8. How important are ICT skills in society generally?

Post- Focus Group Questions for Girls

1. What was the best thing about Digital Divas?

2. What was the best thing or the worst thing?

3. What would be the improvement, so can you make a suggestion? How do you think?

4. What did you learn that you didn’t learn before or you didn’t know before?

5. Are you aware of any job opportunities in IT in the future? Did you get any perspectives on that?

6. Do you want to share whatever the highlights of that? What did you learn?

7. So they have introduced different types of IT jobs?

8. What about the study pathways?

9. Was it informative?

10. Are you aware of any job opportunities in IT?

11. Do you recommend Digital Divas classes to any other students?

12. How would you modify it (Digital Divas) if you wanted to suggest to another student?

13. How confident are you now? Has it grown on you?

14. Have your ideas changed about women’s role in IT by any chance?

15. Anything else that you’d like to add to make this project a better project, do you want to just give your idea, everybody please? Anything you can suggest anything is fine.

16. Would you choose IT subjects next year?

17. How would you choose IT if you want to do IT, what would it be?

Focus Group Questions for Girls who Completed the Program One or Two Years Previously

1. What do you remember about the Digital Divas Club program you completed?

2. What was the best thing about Digital Divas?

3. What was the worst thing about Digital Divas?

4. Are you more confident now in using computers compared with before you did the Digital Divas class?

5. Do you recall who the university student was that came to the Digital Divas class? What was she doing at university and what sort of job do you think she may have ended up working in?

6. Do you believe IT is a career best suited to males or females? Can you explain your answer?

7. Are you considering a future course or career in ICT? If the answer is yes, please explain why. If not, why not?

8. What career has your careers teacher advised you to pursue? Why?

9. What career has your parents or family advised you to pursue?


Pre- Interview Unstructured Questions for Teachers

1. How would you describe the ICT experience of a ‘typical’ secondary school student?

2. How is ICT promoted in your school?

3. What do you expect will be the benefits for the girls who participate in DD?

4. What do you see as the benefits for your school in participating in DD?

5. Do you anticipate any problems with implementing DD in your school?

6. Do you think there are any issues that you, as the teacher, may encounter as a result of conducting a single-sex class in your school? If so, what strategies can you use to deal with these issues?

7. Do you anticipate any issues that participating girls may encounter due to selecting a single-sex ICT class in your school? If so, what strategies could they use to deal with these issues?

8. Which types of ICT tasks are most appealing to secondary school girls? Why?

9. In your experience, are there any particular characteristics that students who engage with ICT possess?

Post- Unstructured Interview Questions for Teachers

1. How did Digital Divas go overall do you think?

2. What would you say they were the best aspects of DD, that it expanded their horizons, they learnt about different applications, so what was the very best thing do you think?

3. Was there any worst aspect, were there any negatives that you can think of?

4. Overall were the girls very engaged?

5. Can you identify specifically what the girls enjoyed the most?

6. So which modules did you cover? You did Fab and Famous and the first one the logo one is that right?

7. Did they really enjoy the second one the most?

8. Was there good progression from gaining skills from the first module and applying those skills to the second one?

9. How would you describe your own level of engagement and enjoyment of the program?

10. Was there a fairly high level of engagement and enjoyment?

11. Were there any impediments to this do you think?

12. Was the Expert Diva a help to you?

13. Did the Expert Diva have the IT expertise to assist the girls?

14. On another level do you think she (Expert Diva) had an effect say as a role model in turning around ideas, their attitudes

15. She was very effective then and really helpful in the classroom and related well to the girls?

16. Was time an impediment getting in the way of doing more?

17. Anything else that was constraining?

18. Do you think the program was successful in terms of changing girls’ attitudes to IT?

19. Do you feel the girls are more confident?

20. Do you think more girls will select IT subjects next year or down the track?

21. Are the girls now more aware of careers in IT?

22. How affective was the strategy of incorporating Expert Divas into the program?

23. How effective was the use of guest speakers?

24. Did you feel adequately supported by the Digital Divas team?

25. Did you find the materials easy to access and clear?

26. Was it quite user friendly do you think?

27. Overall were your expectations realised and did you achieve what you hoped to achieve?

28. Good. Do you have any suggestions as to how DD could be improved at all?

29. Will your school continue with Digital Divas next year?

30. Is there anything else you’d like to say about the project?

31. Was it a steep learning curve for you or not? As you went along you grasped the ideas anyway?

Expert Diva Weekly Reflection Questions

1. Which module is the class working on this week?

2. Describe your contribution to the class you attended.

3. What went well? What didn’t work well?

4. How engaged were the girls overall, on a scale of 1–10? (1 = unengaged, 10 = extremely engaged.)

5. Any other comments or reflections?

Post- Interview Questions for Expert Divas

1. How do you think it went overall? Did you enjoy the experience?

2. Was it what you expected?

3. What did you enjoy most about being an Expert Diva?

4. Was there anything that you didn’t enjoy?

5. Was there anything else? Nothing negative?

6. So you just enjoyed the whole experience?

7. Where there any challenges at all?

8. Did you feel well prepared for your role?

9. Did the induction give you an idea of what to expect?

10. How effective, appropriate or engaging do you think the modules were for teaching girls?

11. Which module do you think they enjoyed the most?

12. Is there anything that we, the Digital Divas research team, could change or do better or differently to improve your experience as an Expert Diva?

13. How successful do you think the strategy of placing Expert Divas in schools is, in terms of you being a role model and influencing the girls’ attitudes?

14. Is there anything else you’d like to say about the Digital Divas project?

15. Do you think you grew in confidence as you went along?

Appendix E

Wider Community Survey Instruments

Parent questionnaire

Teacher Questionnaire

Student Questionnaire

Group Interview Questions

1. Look at the list below. Please indicate, with an ‘x’ next to the word, which adjectives apply to ICT professionals.

The following list of words was provided (Gough, 1979):

Capable, Honest, Artificial, Intelligent, Clever, Well-mannered, Cautious, Wide interests, Confident, Inventive, Egotistical, Original, Commonplace, Narrow interests, Humorous, Reflective, Conservative, Sincere, Individualistic, Resourceful, Conventional, Self-confident, Informal, Sexy, Dissatisfied, Submissive, Insightful, Snobbish, Suspicious, Unconventional

2. What additional adjectives describe an ICT professional?

3. What influence do parents have on a child’s interest in ICT?

4. What do you think about an all-girl computer class?

5. What do you think about the ICT characters in this clip (Bellisario, McGill, Binder, Kriozere, & Wharmby, 2011, 20:35–24:40).

6. Do you know any ICT experts? – description of job and person

Digital Divas

   by Julie Fisher, Catherine Lang, Annemieke Craig, Helen