I just read the article "STEM Review Suggests Small Measures To Close Gender Gap." As I pondered the ideas promoted in the article, I wondered how we as Technology Leaders could address the issue. I agree that I see fewer girls in the sciences - even in teaching now. I worry about role models for younger women. One of the main points I noted in the article is that "Girls lose interest in STEM." This caught me by surprise. I sit here wondering what we might do to help these girls not lose their interest. What can we do to encourage the innate interest they have? How can we promote STEM to girls in a way that is "cool" and "appropriate." What suggestions do you have to help me encourage the young ladies in my science classes? I really want to help them see the possibilities of STEM careers!
Do we need some kind of STEM National Standards? Is there a class that would put young ladies at an advantage and help them want to pursue STEM careers?
Glen – I think that opening up this discussion is a step in the right direction. For many years I participated in a W.I.S.E (Women in Science and Engineering) which was a summer program with monthly meetings that supported young women as they explored science and engineering. It was a partnership with ASU and Chandler Gilbert Community College. In addition before that involvement I supported a program in district called Kyrene Science Academy that supported girls and minorities in science and engineering. Both were very successful and changed how I taught science to all students.
I did a bit of research to find some current information –and the following have some great resources and opportunities for participation.
As for STEM standers – I can hear the grown of many teachers saying not more standards – but maybe a better way to call out connections between science, technology, engineering and math. I think that all students could benefit from that. In addition- as educators we need to encourage students to go beyond the “typical” scientists reports and encourage them to look at current scientists and add more women in the mix of research possibilities.
What other programs are you aware of? Anyone involved in other initiatives?
You've provided some excellent resources for STEM education and encouraging young ladies to participate. I'm already considering ways I can change how I teach next year to focus more on possibilities for these young ladies.
My state education technology consortium provides a web page for teacher leaders to input STEM activities. Unfortunately, this is a static web page and does not allow for easy collaboration. Information must be emailed and then be uploaded to be published. There is no distinction at this point about whether STEM activities are specific for female students or not.
I hope someone else has details on positive and encouraging work being done with STEM and young ladies in their states or districts!