Wednesday, 30 September 2015

ms-havachat's all for Equality for Geeks.

How cute are these dudes?

Over the summer holidays, MissM discovered Minecraft.  A few boy friends (not boyfriends, but boys who are friends, she asked me to make that very clear) welcomed her into their group to play/build/create together. They also show each other cool new stuff, or help solve problems together.

I'm not into Minecraft nor do I understand it, but they do and they are happy and that's fine with me.

What I and the other mums love about it, is that the kids are simply TOGETHER. Boys. Girls. TOGETHER. There's no jostling for power, no bitching, it's equal and balanced and well, normal. MissM got teased a little bit at her last school by some of the girls about MrH being her boy friend but she just shrugged it off and agreed, saying yes he's a boy and yes he's my friend, in fact he's one of my best friends.

When Geek Squad was offered as an after school activity at her new school, MissM jumped at the chance to learn more about Minecraft, hone her skills on Scratch (an animation coding site) and anything else the group offered.

She wasn't too impressed with the name of the activity and didn't want to be seen as a geek (don't blame her) but her desire to play online games once a week after school with friends was too much, so she signed up. She said 'daddy's a geek so it makes sense I'm one too'.

She was very surprised that she's the only girl in a group of 18 boys, tho she doesn't mind at all, in fact the reason this chat is happening is because of something she said in the car and I asked her if I could share it cos it's a really important message.

'Mumma, I think I am going to do my iTeam project* on How To Encourage More Girls Into Geek Squad cos I'm the only girl and that's just wrong. I can do the one about making a cosy home and how does my voice sing another time'

Pardon was all I could say as she caught me by surprise.

"Well, I'm the only girl doing Geek Squad and I think that's sad, don't you? I want to know why the other girls didn't sign up and I want to change their mind'

'Sounds like a fantastic iTeam topic. Does it bother you you're the only girl?'

"NO! I don't mind at all, but it would be fun to have more in the group.'

'So you've got all the boys to yourself?' giggle giggle giggle.

'MUMMA!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stop it' giggle giggle giggle. 

So far, they have seen and used a 3D printer, she has honed her skills on Scratch and is excited to be going to a local retirement village to show/help the residents how to use iPads.

How cool is our kid?

As part of grade 5 homework they have to complete a set of touch typing exercises each night; they have been given a couple of maths websites for practice; French homework this evening was online, IT is a subject and they are given school iPads to work on, so Geek Squad is pretty apt for all of them.

MissM was so excited she thought she could throw away pen and pencil forever (unless it was for art) and not have to finesse her handwriting (printing is acceptable if the kids don't want to do cursive) but the work is split between tapping away online and writing.

In preparing her iTime project, she interviewed some of the boys in the Squad, as well as the teacher. She also asked several girls a series of questions in order to work out WHY the girls weren't signing up. Turns out, the girls prefer to dance (on at same time) or didn't know enough about what they did in Geek Squad to sign up for it.

Her iTime project has encouraged conversation at home about types of jobs geeks secure, and when you think about it - desktop publishing, web designers, coding specialists, artists/designers, engineers, architects - the list goes on. Even the guys in Ikea last Sunday were using desk top publishers (or similar) to help people plan their kitchens.

What are these young girls thinking asked MissM!

It's kinda cool to be a geek - look at all those career opportunities!

So, after a couple of interviews, 3 weeks of Geek Squad and a few chats at home, MissM reckons its absolutely cool to be a girl geek.

PS: iTeam* project is a 6 weekly project, the topic is chosen by the student and can be anything!
Week 1 - Nominate topic and develop a starting point and finishing point (aka what do you want to know and why, what do you hope to learn)
Week 2 - Plan strategy
Week 3 - Implement strategy
Week 4 - Build case and start putting a presentation together
Week 5 - Finalise presentation and rehearse
Week 6 - Present to class (no more than 5 minutes)

What a great way to motivate the kids! Can't wait to see what other topics will be chosen by MissM and her class mates over the coming months.

Are you or your kids Geeks?
What does the word mean to you?
Do you think it needs a revamp? 

With friendship


  1. Blogging research: Language and identity in expatriate blogs

    Dear ms_havachat

    I’ve found your blog "Ms-havachat" in an expatriate blog directory. I’d like to tell you about a research project that I’m working on, and to invite you to participate.

    Who I am and what my research is about
    I’m a research student in linguistics at York St John University. As a Swiss national living in the UK, I’m interested in how one’s identity is affected by living abroad and how this is expressed and negotiated through language. I’m particularly interested in the stories and reflections that foreign nationals or ‘expats’ tell in their personal blogs about their life in England. You can find some more information about me and my research interests here:

    What my research will involve
    I’m especially interested in your blog posts and the comments leading up to your relocation to England until one year afterwards, as well as the title and the ‘about’ section in your blog. My research will involve an analysis of these entries in terms of how identity is constructed and negotiated in them. The collected information will be used for my PhD thesis and potential projects and publications beyond. My research has been ethically approved and the authorisation code is 150218_Walz_140092297_BS.

    If you are willing to participate
    If you agree to participate in the research, I will collect all posts and comments in your blog from before your move to England to one year afterwards for analysis. All collected information will be stored securely and treated confidentially, and of course you are free to withdraw from this research project at any time. Finally, if you’d like to hear about my findings, I’m happy to share them with you once my research is concluded.
    If you are willing to participate in this study, please contact me on to confirm that you are the author of the above-mentioned blog, that you have read and understood the above information and that you consent to take part in the research project. Should you wish to know more about my research before making your decision, I’m happy to discuss any further questions via email.

    Many thanks and best wishes

    Linda Walz | Postgraduate research student
    Department of Languages and Linguistics | York St John University
    Lord Mayor’s Walk | York YO31 7EX | UK


      Thank you for asking.

      I will email you