Keynote Speakers

Judy Robertson

Professor of Digital Learning

The Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Dancing Rainbots: Computing Education with Girl Guiding


We want women and girls to participate, thrive, and succeed in computer science. This talk will explore the dismal state of the landscape just now, and offer some explanations from the research literature as to the nature of the barriers which women face: masculine cultures, lack of insufficient early expertise, gender gaps in self efficacy, stereotype threat and the lurking shark of unconscious bias. We'll look at the positive results from interventions which have successfully addressed these problems and how CS educators can learn from these. By way of illustration, new educational materials from a collaboration between University of Edinburgh and Girl Guiding in the UK will be presented, along with a discussion of the design principles behind them.


Judy Robertson is Professor of Digital Learning at the University of Edinburgh. She has been a computer science educator for seventeen years, and is familiar with the problem of recruiting female students into undergraduate computer science courses. She is equally familiar with the challenges of being the only woman in a room full of computer scientists, starting from her own years as an undergraduate student in computer science and artificial intelligence. She has published studies relating to increasing girls' interest in computing, and is co-editor of "Equal Bite: Gender Equality in Higher Education" - a crowd sourced collection of articles, recipes and illustrations about efforts to redress the gender balance at the University of Edinburgh.