Valamere Mikler founded She Ran Tech in 2019 as a community initiative encouraging digital proficiency and empowerment for women and girls from underserved areas. She has incorporated Applied Digital Skills lessons into the organization’s hands-on internship, as well as its workshops and recommended resources.
Why are digital skills important for your community?
We work mainly with girls and young women from Targeted Urban Areas within Miami-Dade County in Florida. [These areas are identified as lacking in educational opportunities around technology and digital skills.] Our focus is on data privacy and technology, particularly with girls and young women to educate them on the alternatives to social media trolling, oversharing, idle web surfing, and so on. We want to get them into technology. We are fighting for equity there for women and this initiative is a way to empower them.
They are fulfilling some of our mission while learning in the process.
How does Applied Digital Skills fit into the philosophy and mission of She Ran Tech?
Our initiative started with a technology internship program. Interns use the Applied Digital Skills curriculum to learn digital citizenship and technology literacy, develop their digital skills, and prepare for the job market. They are fulfilling some of our mission and learning in the process.
Our first summer, one intern worked to help us build the website. She completed the Create a Responsible Blog with Google Sites lesson, which did such a wonderful job in providing knowledge. This was a new endeavour for the intern because she had never created a blog before taking the course! She also completed Research and Develop a Topic and Evaluate Credibility of Online Sources to create blog posts for us. One of the posts was so good, we featured it on the website.
In what ways has the curriculum impacted the women and girls you work with?
Applied Digital Skills is a wonderful resource for people who are preparing to work or who want to transition in their careers. We see Applied Digital Skills as a set of tools to prepare our interns for the job market. Both interns said that having their resume prepared using the Create a Resume in Google Docs lesson boosted their confidence to apply for jobs. Prior to their internship, neither had a resume. And it isn’t just individual lessons – we can use the curriculum to create a plan that prepares students to get G Suite certified, for example.
The Create a Resume lesson was the most helpful. It boosted the interns’ confidence in applying for jobs.
How do you plan on using the curriculum in the future?
I see She Ran Tech using the G Suite certification lessons in the future to prepare them to take the exam and get certified. That way, when they are on the job, they will be the go-to people because they are so skilled. We also want to use Applied Digital Skills in our workshops and put them on the website as resources anyone can use. There are so many lessons that fit what we are trying to do and teach, lessons that we need to find ways to use.