Still thinking abou tthis article and the journal article cited in it
|Author:||Diane F Halpern|
|Edition/Format:||Article : English|
|Publication:||Science, 12/3/2010, Vol. 330 Issue 6009, p1320|
1 min read
As long as the role model does not embody current negative STEM stereotypes. As described by Stout and Camp (2014) a strong predictor in feeling a sense of belonging is noticing that there are others who look like you in the social environment. Research has also found that women tend to be repelled by the negative stereotypes associated with computing (Stout & Camp, 2014).
To be a woman in tech is to know the thrill of participating in one of the most transformative revolutions humankind has known, to experience the crystalline satisfaction of finding an elegant solution to an algorithmic challenge, to want to throw the monitor out the window in frustration with a bug and, later, to do a happy dance in a chair while finally fixing it. To be a woman in tech is also to always and forever be faced with skepticism that I do and feel all those things authentically enough to truly belong. There is always a jury, and it’s always still out.
When men in tech listen to the experiences of women in tech, they can come to understand how this manifesto was throwing a match into dry brush in fire season.
Speaking for myself, it doesn’t matter to me how soothingly a man coos that I’m not like most women, when those coos are accompanied by misogyny against most women. I am a woman. I do not stop being one during the parts of the day when I am practicing my craft. There can be no realistic chance of individual comfort for me in an environment where others in my demographic categories (or, really, any protected demographic categories) are subjected to skepticism and condescension.
For example, we could look to the percentage of women majoring in computer science at highly selective colleges and universities. Women currently make up about 30 percent of the computer science majors at Stanford University, one key source of Google’s elite workforce. Harvey Mudd College, another elite program, has seen its numbers grow steadily for many years, and is currently at about 50 percent women in their computer science department.
Yet Google’s workforce is just 19 percent female. So even if we imagine for a moment that the manifesto is correct and there is some biological ceiling on the percentage of women who will be suited to work at Google — less than 50 percent of their workforce — isn’t it the case that Google, and tech generally, is almost certainly not yet hitting that ceiling?
In other words, it is clear that we are still operating in an environment where it is much more likely that women who are biologically able to work in tech are chased away from tech by sociological and other factors, than that biologically unsuited women are somehow brought in by overzealous diversity programs.
For today — given what women in tech have had to deal with over the past week — try pouring a cup of coffee for a female coder in your office, and asking her about the most interesting bug she’s seen lately.
Cynthia Lee is a lecturer in the computer science department at Stanford. She founded peerinstruction4cs.org to support educators in flipping their computer science classrooms using peer instruction. She has a PhD in high-performance computing.
4 min read
This post is also available on CIRCL Educators Blog The timing of this year’s STEM for All Video Showcase worked well for me as a teacher. It allowed me to see something right when I was starting to evaluate my curriculum and prepare for next year. During the 2017-18 school year, I will be teaching two high school computer science courses: one is an introductory course for Sophomores and the other is a new (for me) intermediate course for Juniors. Due to time constraints, our school schedule will not allow me to offer the AP Computer Science Principles course. Instead, I am designing a curriculum that’s appropriate for my students. I am excited about the content and hope it will be engaging for them.
As I watched the videos in the showcase, the EarSketch: teaching coding through music video presented by Lea Ikkache and Jason Freeman really captured my attention, or, dare I say it - caught my ear. As I read through the discussion thread, I learned quite a bit from the comments. I learned that there is a community of CS educators who are now using EarSketch, and even a Facebook group where the community can discuss the curriculum and share their materials and tips. The curriculum is aligned with the AP CSP standards currently, and the team is looking to align to CSTA standards in the future! Among other topics, students will learn to use variables, loops, conditionals, and lists appropriately. They will also learn to use functions and write appropriate comments for their code.
Image: Taken from EarSketch website
I am still learning about EarSketch, but what I can tell so far is that it will engage some of my students (all young women) who are very involved with music-based extracurricular activities. It is also an application for programming that my students might not be anticipating. Through my dissertation study, I am learning about the importance of designing relevant and interesting examples and assignments for our students. EarSketch is definitely going to provide my students an opportunity to apply and practice programming concepts in a creative context with very appropriate supports in the form of instructions, resources, and examples. There are many links to audio and video files throughout!
I know that the research group is conducting further research to better understand EarSketch and its implementation in schools, specifically as AP CSP classes integrate the curriculum. I will be on the lookout for more publications about EarSketch – here is one about engagement across gender and underrepresented populations. Also, check out this EarSketch video that includes a variety of perspectives of people who have engaged with music and computer science through EarSketch.
For more information about EarSketch:
1 min read
As I wrap up my dissertation data analysis I see so much of what young women shared with me all over the news. Most recently I heard this interview by Kara Swisher of of Erica Baker and Sarah Kunst - towards they end, they describe what would be/might be helpful in changing the culture as well as the importance of having people who will speak out and say something when they hear or see something inapropriate.
These are skills that young women in the field would benefit from developing. Young women in HS and college are still developing their own identities and they are learning to identify what's appropriate and what isn't. They might benefit from explicit training. Not only that, but young men also need help when it comes to these topics - they need to be guided and given good examples just as much as young women do.
This is an interview that I will revisit with my students.