Mr Sleep said he believed that girls had been encouraged by the form of the competition which required teams to be formed where individuals played different roles. 'You don't have to be an IT geek to get involved.
'Technology is becoming so much more accessible.'
The persistent dearth of female ICT professionals is also exercising the chair of the Queensland branch of the Australian Information Industry Association, Maree Adshead who issued a media release today calling for more women to consider ICT careers. At present fewer than a quarter of employees in the ICT sector are women, and the percentage of ICT professionals who are women consistently hovers between 12 and 16 per cent.
The AIIA has also announced the formation of an education special interest group which will be led by Susi Steigler-Peters, the national general manager of education, enterprise and government at Telstra. Ms Steigler-Peters said that it was important that the IT industry work with educators to lift schools 'out of the dusty 20th Century to improve student learning outcomes and look at the selection of an IT related profession.'
She said that the almost total lack of science or engineering in primary education acted against girls' interest in technology careers. Although there were examples of women in technology they were often portrayed as almost 'heroic figures' and it was important to normalise women's participation in ICT.
At the same time she said it was important that the ICT industry and educators work together to ensure that pedagogies were developed which would embrace the use of technology to improve educational outcomes.
Further information about the SAP schools programme is available at www.youngICTexplorers.net.au