TechGirlz, a program of Creating IT Futures that seeks to foster a love of technology among middle school girls, successfully responded to COVID-19 by converting its in-person workshops, called TechShopz, to a virtual format. These free, hands-on technology workshops have become so popular, the TechGirlz staff considered how they could provide them in the time of COVID with an added bonus—a sense of virtual community, so important during remote learning and social distancing.
Their solution—TechPodz—launched in Fall 2020.
TechPodz are made up of small groups of middle school girls and volunteers who meet weekly for six weeks. Within each group, the girls make connections and learn various technology topics and other skills. Each group has an assigned teaching assistant, ensuring a consistent familiar adult during their sessions.
In addition, each TechPod is named after a notable woman in tech –Ada Lovelace, Gladys Mae, Grace Hopper, Katherine Johnson, the Women of ENIAC and more.
How it all began
TechGirlz, a nonprofit organization operated by Creating IT Futures, started with a singular vision: To change how middle-school girls think about technology by engaging them in free, fun, hands-on workshops on topics ranging from how to use Photoshop to how to build a webpage.
Within a year of opening its doors, TechShopz workshops were booked solid. In order to reach more girls in more locations, TechGirlz offered its workshop plans, documents and procedures to the public, calling these free materials TechShopz in a Box™. The materials allow anyone, anywhere, to run a TechGirlz workshop. To learn more about the many TechShopz topics, click here.
How you can support TechGirlz and TechPodz
Companies, organizations, parents and schools can help keep girls engaged with technology in many ways:
- Volunteer – Many opportunities abound for leading, assisting, or providing support for workshops. Get started here.
- Sponsor – TechGirlz is committed to keeping programs free, which makes donor support so important. Sponsorship opportunities are available at multiple levels to fit any budget, with more information about sponsoring virtual workshops and instructional webinars found here.
- Support TechGirlz and TechPodz with a donation.
“TechPodz are a unique and timely addition to TechGirlz programming. Our mission has always been to inspire girls to explore all the possibilities in technology while also providing the girls with a community of other girls with similar interests and mentors and role models in our volunteers,” said Alicia Park, TechGirlz National Outreach Manager. “Previously this was achieved through our in-person TechShopz and since March 2020 with our virtual workshops. TechPodz allow us to provide not only the tech education, but the opportunity to develop stronger connections with other girls who share their interests.”
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