Innovative Education: Giving Girls the ‘Digital Bug’

During the 1920s, the first Innovative Education European Marymount Schools were established for the daughters of globally mobile families with the specific aim of preparing them for life in an international setting.

Far ahead of its time, the Marymount Network of Schools, founded by the Sisters of the RSHM, soon spread across three continents where 19 Schools still thrive today and offer the most relevant launch-pad for students, equipping them fully for today’s world. They leave school as intuitive problem solvers who are academically strong, culturally fluent, adaptable and above all internationally minded—the type of students who stand out from the crowd and are destined for success.

In line with the prescience of the Sisters and with an awareness of the rapid development in the digital field, Marymount Schools continue to offer cutting edge education.

In a world where industries are being turned in-side out by digital disrupters, marketing, sales, customer engagement, employee productivity and benchmarking are key business functions now defined by technology.

Digital innovations are revolutionising engineering, medicine, product development as well as all aspects of retail. Furthermore, family and friends stay connected, scheduled and entertained through social media and digital devices. Young people being educated today are growing up as “digital natives”, aware of and at ease with connectivity, data, computing power and the rapid pace of innovation no generation before them has ever experienced.

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Upon closer examination, this recent tsunami of innovation has been almost entirely shaped by men. Google’s workforce is only 30 percent female which dictates that the technology being consumed by and shaping young minds is not the product of a balanced work force. Similarly, 57 percent of all bachelor’s degrees are earned by women but shockingly only 12 percent of computer science degrees are taken by women.

Can schools do more, especially for girls, by enabling them to be creative contributors rather than be passive recipients? Why are girls not excited about tech? After all, women are early adopters and keen consumers of technology. Women in western countries use the internet 17 percent more than their male counterparts.

As an all-girls school, Marymount International School London has taken extra care to awaken an interest in technology thereby breaking down gender based stereotypes through innovative education. The recent installation of a Fab Lab as a “maker space” for girls has given students unhindered access to an array of digitally driven instruments such as 3D printers and laser-cutters.

This will naturally lead to students developing an interest in coding, programming and robotics. As they engage with this space students have been able to drive the programme and have been the key motivators in expanding their knowledge as well as exploring the possibilities of innovation and new ideas. It is perhaps no coincidence that recent Marymount graduates have gone on to study Engineering, and Mathematics both at Oxbridge and Ivy League universities.

By giving girls the ‘digital bug’ early, they will be able to fully participate in the next wave of innovation and contribute fully and positively to shaping the digital world through innovative education.

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