8 March 2023
This year the United Nations (UN) chose ‘Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality’ as the theme for its International Women’s Day (#IWD23) on Wednesday, 8 March.
‘Today, a persistent gender gap in digital access keeps women from unlocking technology’s full potential. Their underrepresentation in STEM education and careers remains a major barrier to their participation in tech design and governance.’
As pupils at St George’s, Ascot donned green, purple and white to mark the day, reflecting more widely on the place of technology in girls’ education is timely.
In 2023, St George’s, Ascot is celebrating one hundred years of excellence in girls’ education. Whilst reflecting back on the progress made in women’s education over the last century, St George’s is also looking to a future in which, in contrast to the challenges highlighted by the UN, technology and learning innovation is very much at the forefront of its pupils’ educational and co-curricular experience. Coming so swiftly on the back of World Book Day (#WBD23) on Thursday, 2 March, International Women’s Day provides an excellent opportunity to share news of innovative technological developments specifically in the teaching of English at St George’s, Ascot.
At the start of the spring term, the pupils of Year 8 embarked on an exciting new project that incorporated a very different approach to the teaching of non-fiction persuasive writing. Tasked with designing, branding and promoting their take on the humble chair, through the process pupils learned about marketing and advertising, and how important the spoken and written word is when selling and promoting ideas and products. Working in teams, they prepared presentations on Google slides and used film-making technology to create advertising that specifically appealed to their target audience. The project concluded with a Dragon’s Den style pitch to ‘the board’ – Head of Business and Economics, Mr Darren Wilkins and current parent, Mr Simon Martin – giving the girls invaluable public speaking experience and the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, professionalism and persuasiveness in response to the Dragons’ questions.
Head of Business and Economics, Mr Darren Wilkins reported:
‘As judges, we were particularly impressed by how slick each presentation was and the professional use of digital technology to create realistic TV and social media adverts and communicate key information.’
In the autumn term, the school’s own poets contributed to the digital future of literature, with submissions from 21 Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils chosen for publication in the Young Writers’ ‘Power of Poetry’ competition. Writing on the theme of ‘The Power of Words’, the girls created a digital piece which they submitted to Young Writers through an online portal. The girls’ work was then published and the printed anthology was presented to the winners on WBD23 in a special assembly.
Head of English, Mrs Lauren Baker, reflects:
‘Oportunities such as this, moving from pen and paper to the keyboard, dramatically increases young people’s engagement with literature and is instrumental in bringing the teaching of stereotypically traditional subjects into the current age.’
Throughout the week of WBD23, pupils also enjoyed a superb series of events run by the St George’s Library educating the girls about ground breaking female authors and inspiring titles of the last century to celebrate the School’s own history and legacy.
The common themes at St George’s, Ascot, then, are becoming clear; there is an enduring love of literacy and language, but in more recent times, an ambition to strategically use technology to explore new teaching methodology. Projects such as these are great examples of how this Google for Education Reference school is dovetailing digital access and capability with traditional learning, empowering its tech-savvy girls to battle the persistent gender gap and unlock technology’s potential to the very full.