Ideas for Promoting Digital Diversity

Photo by Shermeee, Flic.kr/p/6211rAFor the next week, I will be participating in many events to support gender and cultural diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. Below find a list of these events and ideas for promoting digital diversity.
Research points to low percentages of females and minorities pursuing STEM degrees and professions. The National Association of Women in Technology reported 26% of the computing workforce in 2013 were women (5% Asian women, 3% African American women, and 2% Hispanic women) and there was a 64% decline in the number of first-year undergraduate women interested in majoring in Computer Science between 2000 and 2012. Additionally, females worldwide have higher quit rates in STEM professions. The Center for Talent Innovation reported the female quit rate was 45% in the US, 29% in Brazil, and 50% in China. The Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings conducted a survey in 2015 of 557 women in STEM and interviewed 60 minority women in STEM. 100% of the women interviewed reported gender bias.

Upcoming Events

Ideas for Supporting Digital Diversity

Cori Coburn-Shiflett, Rafranz Davis, Sarah Thomas, and I are sharing resources to help you promote Digital Diversity on our site. Below are some of these ideas to help you promote digital diversity in your classes and schools.

  • Update your materials to include innovators, developers, and visionaries of diverse backgrounds, genders, and ages.
  • Invite STEM innovators of diverse backgrounds to inspire your students as guest speakers.
  • Ask local STEM professionals to conduct experiments with your students.
    • In the past, local experts have worked with my students to examine the microorganisms in our river water, search for fossils, explore caves, build adobe structures, create shoes and materials with local plants, act as meteorologists, and much more.
    • Find STEM professionals through museums, companies, Toast Masters, universities, the chamber of commerce, trade associations, or speakers bureaus.
  • Ask local STEM professionals to mentor your students.
  • Get students to interview STEM innovators virtually.
    • Students can host a Google Hangout or Skype with the guest speaker.
    • Students can host a Twitter chat with the guest speaker.
    • Find more ideas and resources in my presentation, Inspire Learners with Guest Speakers.
  • Rethink how you teach STEM. STEM isn’t learned solely from a textbook. Most of your lessons should get students to investigate the world around them with math, science, and technology. Get students to experiment, explore, problem-solve, invent, create, and code.
  • Help all students to believe in their abilities to learn math, science and technology. Our students often come to us believing they aren’t good at math, science, technology, etc. In my book, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, I talk about the need to help students destroy these labels so that they truly engage with our content.
  • Introduce your students to the realities of their lifelong learning journeys. The best learning is a journey full of challenging obstacles that get us to step out of our comfort zones. Only through undergoing this journey do we discover our strengths and skills.

Challenge:

Actively support diversity in STEM!

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics.

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