Program helping girls use technology outside of the classroom

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PHOENIX - Some Valley girls are doing more than just playing games on their computers. They're using them to investigate real life issues. In tonight's 9pm Extra, learn about the program giving them the tools to make it in and out of the classroom.
 

High school sophomores Jayni Gallego and Jovanna Figueroa are using technology to help spread their message on homeless youth and sexual discrimination among teens. It's all part of a program out of Arizona State University called CompuGirls.

“Just the thought of getting a computer where you can not only do you're CompuGirls work, but also do your homework and get your things done on time, it's such a big impact,” Figueroa said.

The program is giving girls in under resourced valley schools a leg up in learning how to use technology.

“We're working with several districts as well as Gila River Indian community and we offer a two year summer and after school program that uses multi-media as a tool for the girls to investigate, analyze and ultimately provide solutions to social and community issues,” Dr. Kimberly Scott said.
 
Scott started CompuGirls back in 2007. The girls will complete six courses followed by an internship.

“Not only do the girls have to create a digital product at the end of every course, they also have to conduct a research project,” Scott said. “And so that requires that they identify a problem, create a research question, think about how and what are the best methods to explore answers to those questions.”


Gallego and Figueroa are both doing their internships at ASU this summer.
 
“At first I didn't want to ask questions at my internship, but they kept telling me, ask questions, ask questions, so I keep doing that,” Gallego said.

“Here you have so much responsibility, so much freedom,” Figueroa said. You can plan on what you need to do at what time. If you have it done great, if don't you better catch up the next day. “

CompuGirls is providing hi-tech skills that the can be applied beyond the classroom.

“A lot of these skills and characteristics that we've seen improve are important for the workforce and it's going to set them up and poise them for success regardless of whether they become scientists or technologists, just to be a viable member of our society,” Scott said.

“I think I'm going to be able to apply everything just because in the future everything is going to have computers,” Figueroa said. ‘And if we're learning how to use computers at such a young age, it's going to be very good.”

For more information on CompuGirls visit http://sst.clas.asu.edu/compugirls/ or e-mail compugirls@asu.edu