Women are still underrepresented in the area of information and communication technologies (ICT), and this is particularly true for female entrepreneurs. At the same time, according to economic forecasts, an increasing skill shortage is to be expected in the Austrian ICT sector within the next years. Entrepreneurial skills should be promoted early, ideally with girls in school, to guarantee an easy access to entrepreneurship for them. Existing projects mainly aim at older girls who have already made their decision about a technical or job-specific school or education.
MIT-MUT, which was developed in the frame of an Austrian research project, addresses this issue before the first career decision is made and aims at girls under the age of 14 years. In order to motivate girls to choose career paths in the ICT-sector and to encourage them to be active as entrepreneurs, MIT-MUT supports girls in developing two key competences defined by the EU for lifelong learning (2006/962/EG) – computer skills and entrepreneurial skills.
In particular, MIT-MUT aims at
- Developing entertaining and motivating ways of making girls familiar with attractive and up-to-date occupational options, with respect to entrepreneurship in the ICT sector;
- Promoting entrepreneurship competences and skills (such as creativity, innovativeness, initiative, readiness to assume risks, goal-oriented behaviour, project management);
- Introducing successful female ICT-entrepreneurs as role models and initiating networking opportunities between ICT-entrepreneurs and girls; and
The core part of the project was the development, testing, and evaluation of the MIT-MUT game, an interactive online role game moderated by the fictional game master Rachel Lovelace. The MIT-MUT game was implemented in an internet platform, the so called Se3N – Social enterprise education entertainment Network, which incorporates elements of game based and social learning for girls. In the course of the game the girls find useful learning material, information about working experience in companies and contact possibilities to role models. The living and working contexts of female ICT-entrepreurs served as starting point for authentic learning scenarios. The MIT-MUT game has been tested and implemented in 9 Austrian partner schools.
The Se3N contains the following elements:
- An adventure game, where girls can put themselves in the position of female ICT-entrepreneurs
- Video interviews and virtual classrooms, where female ICT-entrepreneurs will talk about their profession in the function of role models, as well as networking opportunities between girls and successful ICT-businesswomen
- A manual for pedagogues for in-depth consideration of these issues in school
MIT-MUT is going to be implemented in the further education programmes for teachers at Austrian teacher training colleges. In the Frame of CPD trainings school teachers are enabled to apply MIT-MUT in their classes respectively to act as game masters.