Magazine Feature

Toolkit for "Cracking the Code"

“Cracking the Code” looks at the representation of girls in computer science. This toolkit helps educators create an environment that welcomes all girls to participate in computer science and pursue careers in this field. 

It’s widely acknowledged that gender affects students’ access to and success with computer science. But there are additional challenges beyond gender, including racial bias and ableism. Use these resources to build a welcoming learning environment for everyone.


Essential Question

  1. How can educators engage more girls in computer science opportunities?



  1. Women Who Choose Computer Science—What Really Matters,” a 2014 Google white paper, looks at four factors that influence whether young women decide to pursue a computer science degree. These factors are:


    With your colleagues, discuss how your school influences girls to participate in and pursue computer science programs.

    • Social encouragement
    • Self-perception
    • Academic exposure
    • Career perception
    • What positive, public reinforcement for studying computer science do we provide for our girls?
    • What computer science courses do we offer? What do we do to encourage enrollment in those classes?
    • What examples of professionals in computer science and associated careers do we provide for students? What identity groups do those examples represent? How many of the examples are women? Women of color? Women with disabilities?
    • Use resources from the National Center for Women & Information Technology to ensure computer science classes are inclusive of both students with diverse abilities and young Latina women.

      Use the five tenets of Culturally Responsive Computing to review and, if necessary, revise the computer science offerings at your school. Step-by-step recommendations that accompany these tenets can help you make your computer science curriculum culturally responsive.

    • Join TECHNOLOchicas, a national initiative to raise awareness among young Latinas and their families about opportunities and careers in technology. Incorporate the stories of TECHNOLOchicas into your curricular content.
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