Women and Technology

Erase All Kittens - Inspiring Girls to Code

By Team Erase All Kittens

Location

United Kingdom

Team Leader

Miss Dee Saigal

Our solution:

Most girls believe that coding is "more for boys' and 'too difficult". Erase All Kittens is the first game designed from the ground-up to inspire girls to code, and teach them practical coding languages, via highly gamified, story-driven gameplay. E.A.K.'s aim is to help close the gender gap in technology.

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Our pitch:

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The problem:

The vast majority of girls perceive code education as being "more for boys", "too difficult" and "boring". This is because computer science has been taught in ways which haven't been inspirational for most girls, or maintained their interest. Unfortunately, teaching girls to code has largely been ignored. The WISE campaign found that if girls aren't interested in STEM subjects by the age of 11, they are unlikely to ever become interested. Our goal is to completely transform how girls aged 8-13 perceive code education and software engineering, and to empower them with practical 'real-world' skills.

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Why our solution will solve the problem:

We carried out 18 months research - interviewing hundreds of girls and immersing ourselves in their culture; analysing the most popular cartoons, games and books. As a result, solely through word-of-mouth, Erase All Kittens has 125,000 players in over 100 countries, and 53% are girls (avg. for other tools is less than 18%). Data from 11,000 feedback forms has shown that 95% of girls want to learn more about coding after playing E.A.K. After twelve months of beta-testing with Oasis Academies, E.A.K. was shown to inspire girls to become researchers, teachers, problem solvers, writers and designers, as well as coders.   

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Our solution's stage of development:

Pilot

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Target Outcomes

Our target outcomes:

Our aim is to positively impact the lives of at least one million girls - inspiring them to code via story-driven gameplay, and equipping them with practical skills required to create simple websites and web apps. Initial focus: girls aged 8-13 in the UK, US and Canada, via selling E.A.K. to schools and parents, and forming distribution partnerships, e.g. CoderDojo, Girls Who Code, Microsoft Education. For every E.A.K. account bought, one will be offered to a girl in Syria, Lebanon and India - via schools, coding workshops and hackathons. Our aim is to help close the gender gap in tech.

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How we will measure our progress:

  • Outcome: 500,000 girls in the UK, US and Canada own E.A.K. accounts by December 2018
    Measurement Plan: Track accounts / downloads in Google Analytics and App Store (iPad version)
  • Outcome: 500,000 free E.A.K. accounts distributed to disadvantaged girls via schools and coding workshops in Syria, Lebanon and India, by December 2018
    Measurement Plan: Track accounts in Google Analytics and App Store
  • Outcome: Potential long-term outcome - a significant rise in female graduates entering computing-related degrees and careers in the UK and US by 2026
    Measurement Plan: National surveys
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The populations we will benefit initially:

  • Child
  • Upper middle income economies (between $3976 and $12275 GNI)
  • Low-income economies (< $1005 GNI)
  • Primary
  • Female
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The regions we will benefit initially:

  • Europe and Central Asia
  • South Asia
  • US and Canada
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The countries we will benefit initially:

  • Canada
  • India
  • Lebanon
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
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Technology

The technologies we employ:

  • Consumer-facing software (mobile applications, cloud services)
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Why our solution is unique:

Erase All Kittens (E.A.K.) is the world's first code education tool, built from the ground-up to inspire girls aged 8-13 to code. Our solution is innovative because we immersed ourselves in the culture of our target audience for eighteen months and invented a highly gamified, story-driven approach to teach unfamiliar, practical coding skills to young girls.

E.A.K. is also the first game that effectively bridges the huge gap between young girls learning 'computational thinking' (the concepts of coding) and being able to apply practical 'real-world' skills in a creative way on the web, as a professional developer would.

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Why our solution is human-centered:

Our solution, E.A.K. is designed to strongly appeal to girls aged 8-13. Solely through word-of-mouth, E.A.K. has over 125,000 players and 53% of them are girls. Since most of our traction has come from the UK, US and Canada, we'll focus on selling E.A.K. to schools there, whilst launching a one-for-one initiative to reach girls in Syria, Lebanon and India. We are working with Techfugees and recently donated 100 E.A.K. accounts to girls in Damascus via their coding workshops. We regularly interview girls from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds in the UK, to ensure that our solution fits their needs.

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How people will access our solution:

As our solution is an online platform game which can either be played online or downloaded without much assistance from teachers or parents, it will be very affordable and accessible for the communities we are targeting. E.A.K. will be deployed primarily through primary and secondary school purchases in the UK, US and Canada, and via distribution partnerships with organisations including Microsoft Education, Barclays and CoderDojo. With regards to our one-for-one initiative (distributing free accounts to girls in Syria, India and Lebanon) - we are currently implementing this scheme via partnerships with Techfugees and Teach Lebanon.

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Technology-Readiness Level:

6-8 (Demonstration)
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Our website

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Our app

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Business Plan

Our organization:

For-Profit

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Where we are located:

United Kingdom
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How we will sustain our team financially:

My co-founder and I are raising £200K investment funding to provide us eighteen months, and we have secured £100K. £100K will go towards building our solution with award-winning London-based games studio Playerthree, and the remaining funds will go towards salaries for the co-founders, an educational specialist / salesperson, and a business development manager - so that the team can work full-time on this project. As we scale, we aim to capture 2% of the market (estimated 22 million students in the UK and US aged 8-13), by selling E.A.K. to schools (initially focusing on academy chains, girls schools and independent schools), distribution companies, e.g. Microsoft Education, and parents. In 2018, E.A.K. (5 hours content) will be priced at £450 per year, and in 2019, E.A.K. (8 hours content) will be priced at £650 per year.  For parents, E.A.K. will cost £1 per per month or £14.99 from January 2018 onwards.

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The factors limiting our success:

We have successfully invented a way to teach HTML and CSS syntax to young children, and we are now working on inventing a way to effectively teach Javascript - something which has not yet been achieved by other coding tools. We have recently partnered with an award-winning games studio Playerthree, who are at the cutting-edge of code education, and they are working with us on an effective solution. Other limiting factors: we require funding to hire specialists in business expansion and educational sales, as we do not have backgrounds in business - our expertise is in creating an engaging/effective product. 

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How long we have been working on our solution:

3 years
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How long it will take to develop a pilot:

We have already developed a pilot.
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How long it will take to scale beyond our pilot:

12-18 months
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Our expected annual budget:

$196995

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How much of our budget we've secured to date:

$131330

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Our annual report

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Our promotional video:

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Partnership Needs

We're looking for partners in these fields:

  • 21st Century Skills
  • Online Learning
  • Primary Education
  • Refugee Education
  • STEM Education
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Why we're applying to Solve:

We are applying to Solve because this is our first business, and we are working on creating the first coding tool that effectively inspires girls and equips them with professional coding skills. 

We have succeeded in eliminating the fear that young girls have of coding (at the crucial age of 8-13) and inventing ways to teach basic HTML and CSS skills effectively - we now require further resources and expertise in the areas of code education, education software distribution and international business development, to truly succeed in our mission - helping to close the gender gap in tech.

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Our current partners:

CoderDojo - Distribution 

Techfugees - One-for-one scheme

Playerthree Games Studio - Development

Microsoft Education - Distribution 

BBC - Exhibiting at events

Web We Want - Exhibiting at events

Mozilla Foundation - Exhibiting at events

Girls Day School Trust - Exhibiting at events

The Duke of York iDEA initiative - Distribution 



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Solution Team

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