Projects to promote female leadership and entrepreneurship in the digital world

The COlab organization, located in Lac-Saint-Jean, has implemented several projects aimed at getting girls more interested in digital technology over the past few months. The projects are designed to foster female leadership and entrepreneurship. We spoke with the organization's director of digital entrepreneurship and innovative paths, Josée Gauthier.

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The COlab organization, located in Lac-Saint-Jean, has implemented several projects aimed at getting girls more interested in digital technology over the past few months. The projects are designed to foster female leadership and entrepreneurship. We spoke with the organization's director of digital entrepreneurship and innovative paths, Josée Gauthier.

"While too many girls are still disinterested in all things science and technology in high school, we want to approach these topics differently so that they discover a world of possibilities. Everything is done through the contextualization of projects. We have chosen to focus on leadership and entrepreneurship," says Josée Gauthier.

Created in 2018 by the College of Alma, the COlab social innovation and digital culture s mission is to initiate, experiment and support technology appropriation projects by developing the digital capacities and skills of companies and communities. The organization's premises include a Fab Lab, a co-creation room, a data experimentation laboratory and an immersive studio. The center offers services to various clienteles, including youth.

In recent months, COlab has organized cohorts of young women to learn about scientific entrepreneurship: The Clever Ones for college and university students and The Ambitious for high school students. Les Ambitieuses is a virtual course for high school girls in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, lasting 15 weeks and lasting one hour per week.

A journey of engagement for Aboriginal girls is also offered in partnership with the community of Mashteuiatsh. During the course, they have the opportunity to participate in a prototyping workshop and to digital creation inside the Fab Lab.

Pedagogical content for all Quebec teachers

In parallel with these regional projects, the COlab is in the midst of producing various pedagogical contents that will be accessible to all teachers in the province. Initially, a toolbox, which will contain capsules and exercises, will help demystify artificial intelligence and contextualize it by relating it to learning areas.

In addition, in collaboration with the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec and the Centre de services scolaires du Lac Saint-Jean, the organization carries out eight immersive reality capsules to contextualize theoretical notions related to STIAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) for female high school students. Both projects were supported by the NovaScience program of the Quebec Ministry of Economy and Innovation.

Finally, the COlab has just received funding under phase 3 of the federal government's CodeCAN program. Various interactive contents will be developed by May 2023 according to thematic blocks (programming/coding, cloud computing, data science, cybersecurity and digital arts) and will be made available on an online platform.

"Once again, the project will be aimed primarily at young girls to help them discover careers related to STEAM and digital technology. We want to contribute to increasing the representation of women in these fields," says Ms. Gauthier.

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About the Author

Martine Rioux
After studying public communication, Martine worked as a journalist for various publications, before pursuing her career as an interactive communications consultant at La Capitale, a financial group, then at Québec Numérique, an organization she took over as general manager before making the jump. as political advisor in the office of the Minister for Digital Government Transformation. Today she is the online Editor-in-Chief and Special Projects Manager at l'École branchée. Her dream: that everyone has access to technology and can use it as a tool for learning and opening up to the world.

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