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Article

The Digital Girls Response to Pandemic: Impacts of in Presence and Online Extracurricular Activities on Girls Future Academic Choices

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Department of Economics Marco Biagi, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 41121 Modena, Italy
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Department of Engineering Enzo Ferrari, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 41121 Modena, Italy
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Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Bologna, 40126 Bologna, Italy
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Andrea Burrows and Mike Borowczak
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(11), 715; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11110715
Received: 14 September 2021 / Revised: 31 October 2021 / Accepted: 2 November 2021 / Published: 8 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated STEM and STEM Partnerships: Teaching and Learning)
In the last few years, several initiatives based on extracurricular activities have been organized in many countries around the world, with the aim to reduce the digital gender gap in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields. Among them, the Digital Girls summer camp, organized every year since 2014 by two Italian universities with the aim to attract female students to ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) disciplines, represents quite a unique initiative for its characteristics of long-duration (3–4 entire weeks) and complete gratuitousness for the participants. The COVID-19 emergency imposed severe changes to such activities, that had to be modified and carried out in the online mode as a consequence of social distancing. However, on one hand, the general lack of high-quality evaluations of these initiatives hinders the possibility to understand the actual impact of extracurricular activities on the future academic choices of the participants. On the other hand, the availability of data collected over different editions of Digital Girls has allowed us to analyze the summer camp impact and to evaluate the pros and cons of in-presence and online activities. The main contribution of this paper is twofold. First, we present an overview of existing experiences, at the national (Italian) and international levels, to increase female participation in integrated STEM and ICT fields. Second, we analyze how summer camp participation can influence girls’ future academic choices, with specific attention to ICT-related disciplines. In particular, the collection of a significant amount of data through anonymous surveys conducted before and after the camp activities over the two editions allowed us to evidence the different impacts of in-presence and online extracurricular activities. View Full-Text
Keywords: gender gap; ICT education; human capital; extracurricular STEM activities; in-presence and online education gender gap; ICT education; human capital; extracurricular STEM activities; in-presence and online education
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MDPI and ACS Style

Faenza, F.; Canali, C.; Colajanni, M.; Carbonaro, A. The Digital Girls Response to Pandemic: Impacts of in Presence and Online Extracurricular Activities on Girls Future Academic Choices. Educ. Sci. 2021, 11, 715. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11110715

AMA Style

Faenza F, Canali C, Colajanni M, Carbonaro A. The Digital Girls Response to Pandemic: Impacts of in Presence and Online Extracurricular Activities on Girls Future Academic Choices. Education Sciences. 2021; 11(11):715. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11110715

Chicago/Turabian Style

Faenza, Francesco, Claudia Canali, Michele Colajanni, and Antonella Carbonaro. 2021. "The Digital Girls Response to Pandemic: Impacts of in Presence and Online Extracurricular Activities on Girls Future Academic Choices" Education Sciences 11, no. 11: 715. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11110715

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