The Digital Divas project is funded from 2009 -2011 through the ARC Linkage Project Scheme and is currently being undertaken by researchers at Monash University's Centre for Organisational and Social Informatics, Swinburne University, Monash Faculty of Education and Deakin University.
Girls' lack of interest in Information Communication Technology (ICT) is clearly evident by senior secondary school and short-term initiatives have failed to change girls' attitudes. Our research is exploring if a longer term strategy can encourage girls to continue ICT study. Using action research we are investigating if a program we call Digital Divas, can actively engage girls more with ICT. The research outcomes will include: identifying materials most likely to stimulate girls' interests, understanding how a longitudinal program can be integrated into schools' curriculum, and through longitudinal research track the program's impact on girls' attitudes towards ICT and ICT careers.
ICT is a National Research Priority, building a skilled ICT workforce is therefore essential. Yet, at a time of ICT skills shortage girls' interests in ICT and women entering the ICT workforce is declining. DICTA (2006) reporting on the ICT skills shortage, recommends "action be taken to review and enhance the teaching of ICT in schools". This project, through a school based program, will build girls' ICT skills and confidence, increase girls' motivation to continue studying ICT and enter the ICT workforce. It will also maximise the benefits of the 'Education Revolution' ensuring all students can fully exploit the technology.