‘Geek girl’ Dagenham teacher’s crusade to get girls into tech

Carrie Anne Philbin, a teacher from Rainham, is up for a TalkTalk Digital Heroes Award

Carrie Anne Philbin, a teacher from Rainham, is up for a TalkTalk Digital Heroes Award - Credit: Archant

It never used to be cool to be a ‘geek’, ‘dork’ or ‘nerd’ – but youth culture of the 2010s has changed all that, especially for teenage girls.

Now Robert Clack teacher Carrie Anne Philbin wants to translate this trend into more girls taking up the traditionally ‘geeky’ subjects like ICT and computer science.

She runs a website and YouTube channel called the Geek Gurl Diaries, which has been nominated for the second year running for TalkTalk’s Digital Heroes Awards.

Geek Gurl Diaries, which features videos about using technology and interviews with inspirational women in the fields of computing, science, technology and engineering, has amassed more than 100,000 hits in its first year.

Her crusade was kick-started when she became a teacher and noticed how few teenage girls were interested in computer science – but that is now changing.

“At GCSE it isn’t a compulsory subject so most of my GCSE students were boys. I used to have four girls and 20 boys. But now I have got seven girls. When we go back I am hoping to have even more,” she said.

“It is cool to be a geek. Will.i.am is making being a geek cool; he is learning how to programme. Girls are seeing that.”

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If Carrie Anne wins the London heat, which is down to a public vote, she could win £5,000, which she wants to put towards running workshops in other schools, producing more videos and run afterschool clubs.

She could then go on to be voted a national Digital Hero.

“It would mean so much,” she said. “I don’t do it for the awards, I do it in the hope to inspire kids. A lot of my students use the internet but they can’t make a website. I think it’s so important they understand what’s happening.”

To vote for Carrie Anne visit talktalkdigitalheroes.co.uk.