Under The Wing

Jeff Rangel

Truth or Dare?

by Jeff Rangel on ‎02-22-2013 03:50 AM (538 Views)

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I never enjoyed playing ‘Truth or Dare’ when I was young – I wanted to avoid the truth but wasn't willing to take on the dare. Today, while some may shy away from the stark truth about teaching our middle school students, especially young women, about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), others are willing to take the dare!

 

The Truth

According to a study by the Anita Borg Institute there are several barriers to teaching STEM:

  • Many students, particularly from poor communities, lack access and exposure to information technology leading to a significant equity challenge of underrepresented students. In turn, educators acknowledge that students, notably minorities and young girls, are less interested in computer sciences. 
  • STEM educators simply do not have adequate
  • Further, the fact that computer science is not a “core course” is a critical barrier for teachers. This lack of recognition and school focus on the importance of computer science is compounded by the field’s certification process which could be more rigorous.


The Dare

Thankfully the Invent Your Future Foundation is one of many organizations daring to change the status quo. The Foundation aims to advance education and supports training programs and scholarships for girls to build a pipeline of talent with skills in math, science and technology. The Foundation’s 4th Annual Dare 2B Digital Conference does just that. The goal of the conference is to open the eyes of young women to the pervasiveness of computing technologies in their everyday life and to the wide spectrum of exciting and creative careers that leverage an education in computer science or electrical engineering.

Volunteers from Brocade’s Women In Networking (WIN) group put on a workshop at the conference and made the technology “dare” fun. To teach participants the magic behind their everyday use of network technology, Brocadians developed a board game that illustrated how activities such as texting and purchasing shoes at the mall use the network. The workshop was also a unique opportunity for corporate leaders and technology experts to develop curriculum that connected the game to real examples.

 

According to Joni Podolsky, manager of global diversity, inclusion and outreach at Brocade, “Brocade values diversity amongst our employees.  Not only does it provide a more fulfilling and productive work experience, but it makes sure that we, as a company, have the understanding, experience, and knowledge to best serve our customers. WIN’s participation in the Dare 2B Digital Conference supports this value and was an ideal opportunity to reinforce the importance of STEM and inspire future generations of women in technology.

 

In all, close to 90 young women participated in the workshop throughout the day. Volunteers were excited to know that if these young women represent our future, then the future is bright.

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