Girls in Control (GIC) Workshop and Material

About the workshop
The Girls in Control (GIC) workshop is targeted to 10-to-15-year-old girls and aims to stimulate their passion for control and encourage them to consider a career in STEM.

During the workshop, the girls watch several videos covering control theoretic principles. They learn about feedback and discuss control examples from their every-day-life; for example, changing the temperature of the water in the shower, playing a game of chase with friends, or standing on one leg. Additionally, control techniques such as P-control and feedforward control are briefly discussed.

During the bulk of the workshop the girls use Scratch, a programming language, to implement their first controllers for an automated game of their design. The girls are encouraged to implement advanced features such as scoring systems, adaptive dynamics, and more advanced control techniques. 

Female representation is an important part of the GIC workshops. We invite women working in control to speak about themselves and their careers. This provides an opportunity for the girls to interact with control engineers and see how creative, passionate and challenged they are in their line of work. 

The virtual workshop ran for the first time during the 21st IFAC World Congress in six parallel sessions, i.e., English, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, and Portuguese. Our first workshop attracted almost 100 girls from over 20 different countries. During the workshop, all volunteers reported that there were many smiling faces and creative questions. The results produced in such a short period of time were outstanding and innovative. The feedback from participants and parents was overwhelmingly positive and many girls are looking forward to participating in repetitions of the workshop in the future. 

We are currently extending the materials to be in Bangla, Chinese, Farsi, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Punjabi, Pushto, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Urdu. We are additionally creating advanced material for girls who are older and have programming experience to create an equally challenging and rewarding experience for all participants.

How the Girls in Control workshop came to be
The original idea for the Girls in Control workshop came from Margret Bauer and Steffi Knorn. The workshop was planned to run as a robotics workshop in German for girls in Berlin during the 21st IFAC World Congress in July 2020. Once it was apparent that the 2020 IFAC World Congress would run on a virtual platform, Damiano Varagnolo and Roxanne Jackson joined the team to help develop engaging materials that could be used on a virtual platform.

Running the workshop virtually removed geographical barriers and to reach a larger span of girls the new problem became language barriers. Thus, the idea to develop the workshop materials in many languages developed. Through colleagues and connections, control engineers from around the globe were contacted and encouraged to develop the materials in their mother tongue. We now have a complete set of materials in 6 languages and 16 languages with materials currently being developed.

Running your own workshop: How to use the materials
If you would like to run a GIC workshop, all of the materials are offered in a language package. Each language package includes the following content already translated into the specified language:

  1. Advertisement flyer
  2. Registration form
  3. Videos about control
  4. Instructions for how to use zoom (for virtual workshops)
  5. Instructions for how to use Scratch
  6. Sample Scratch file

Instructions on how to run the workshop effectively can be found in the notes for instructors which are offered in English. These materials include:

  1. Timeline / plan for how to run the workshop
  2. Instructions for how to use Zoom as an instructor
  3. Example solution file in Scratch
To download the material, click here, or on the languages as below.

Contact details for language content

general material

For any questions specifically related to language content, contact:
English: Roxanne Jackson, roxanne.jackson@ovgu.de
French: Pauline Bernard, pauline.bernard@mines-paristech.fr
German: Steffi Knorn, steffi.knorn@ovgu.de
Italian: Alessandra Parisio, alessandra.parisio@manchester.ac.uk
Norwegian: Gunhild Berget, gunhild.berget@ntnu.no
Portuguese: Luciane Ferreira Trierweiler, luciane@enq.ufrgs.br

Adding a language / General enquiry
If you are interested in developing materials for the Girls in Control workshop in your mother tongue, or you have any questions related to the GIC workshop in general, please contact gic@ifac-control.org

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