CSEdWeek takes place December 5-11, 2016 to coincide with the birthday of Admiral Grace Hopper, a pioneer in the field of computer science who was born on December 9, 1906. This annual event was first recognized in 2010 when the 111th Congress passed House Resolution 1560. The goal of this initiative is to introduce students to computing and show them that the world of technology is for everyone.
While formal computing education is important, CSEdWeek also represents an opportunity to offer informal experiences outside of school in a family setting, helping students to relate invaluable, creative problem-solving skills to their interests, and encouraging their future enrollment in CS courses. Read on for resources that you can use at home, especially with girls.
Parental or familial support and encouragement has a profound effect on students’ choices to persist. Women more often than men say they entered computer science because a teacher, family member, or friend encouraged them to do it. “Why Should Young Women Consider a Career in Information Technology?” offers many ways to help you start conversations with students about what IT people do, how to prepare for a computing career, and more.
Experience with “creative production” of technology in the home (creating with technology rather than just use) is a significant factor in later success in computing courses. “Top 10 Ways Families Can Encourage Girls’ Interest in Computing” recommends taking apart household items and (unplugged) electronics to see how things work, among other ideas.
We know that family members have significant influence as role models. One of the most important characteristics of a role model is that students perceive them as “relatable” and similar to themselves. Students looking for a tech-savvy role model at home may find it more difficult to find, but real-life individuals and authentic media portrayals are often hidden in plain sight:
On January 6, 2017, “Hidden Figures” opens in movie theaters nationwide. This highly anticipated film brings to light the stories of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson — three Black women mathematicians who charted the course that launched Astronaut John Glenn into orbit during the Space Race in the 1950s. Show your support for diversifying media portrayals of technical women by attending opening weekend. Find out why films like “Hidden Figures” are so significant here.
In an effort to narrow the gap between potential talent and technological opportunities, NCWIT and Televisa Foundation launched TECHNOLOchicas, a national initiative designed to raise awareness among young Latinas and their families about opportunities and careers in technology by featuring the powerful stories of Latinas from diverse backgrounds and environments who share a passion for technology and its power to change the world. Watch Actress, Producer, Director, and Philanthropist Eva Longoria’s message to young Latinas in this video.
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