Interview with Carly Holness, a PGCE computing alumna on a mission.
What do you do currently?
I completed my PGCE in Secondary Computing at Roehampton last summer on the School Direct route, and I now teach in a secondary school in the London Borough of Lambeth.
What attracted you to computing?
I took my degree in digital arts and video production, having always had a love for art and gaming, which was very much a boys’ domain when I was growing up, and it still is. I developed a passion for animation, but I remember in school when I said I wanted to be an animator I was told that it wasn’t a proper career!
What was your career path?
My first move into education was as a Teaching Assistant and school Web Manager. Now, years later, I’m fully qualified and teaching technology in the classroom. Tech is so fast paced and you’re always learning as a teacher so it never gets boring. Unfortunately, many are fearful of technology, but to those people I just say sorry, it’s not going to disappear anytime soon! We need to realise that we take technology for granted every day, from smartphones to social media, and that it has changed the way we live. We need good people to get involved in it, a process that starts in the classroom by showing students the fantastic opportunities it offers.
Why you think so few girls go into computing, and how are you trying to improve participation?
It’s a question I ask myself daily and I honestly still don’t know the answer. It’s always been a male-dominated field, however that cycle is beginning to break down. Girls don’t see role models doing this kind of work, people who they can relate to, and I’m trying to overcome that. Being a woman and highlighting my own experience with tech allows me to identify with my female students.
Many students become more engaged once they realise they are growing up as part of the digital age. My school and I have made this a primary focus this year. We’ve entered a competition via Microsoft’s DigiGirlz and have recently won. We are also currently working with Amazon to create an App which is part of another national competition. And then we recently attended an all-day event called CyberGirlsFirst which focused on getting girls interested in cyber security. What really helps at these events is seeing woman at the forefront speaking to industry experts and leaders as equals, and sharing experiences. Our school has also an amazing partnership with The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, who support the school with technology and offer us a range of opportunities to get involved in the wider industry.
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