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The Best of Our Knowledge # 946

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-775082.mp3

Albany, NY – THE GENDER GAP IN COMPUTING -

Women make up more than half of the work force, yet hold only 20% of technology positions. A report by the American Association of University Women Education Foundation indicates at the high school level only 17% of computer science AP test takers are girls.

Why is there this gender gap in computing? The AAUW report, Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age , suggests information technology courses need to change in order to engage the participation of more girls and young women. Other findings say teachers need to incorporate technology concepts into more diverse subject areas, like music, history, or the sciences, in order to spark girls' interest.

Dr. Lecia Barker has been addressing this problem for several years. Dr. Barker heads the University of Colorado at Boulder's evaluation and research group at (ATLAS) - the Alliance for Teaching, Learning and Society Institute. ATLAS' mission is to expand information technology training from K thru 16.

As part of fulfilling these goals, Dr. Barker has teamed up with the award-winning computer magnet program at Denver Public Schools. Together, they're determining more effective ways to recruit girls for technology classes.

Shelley Schlender reports. (15:19)

**(Attention Listeners and Program Directors. If you would like to hear this story again, or more stories like it, go to our Women in Science website at: www.womeninscience.org.)**

GUEST COMMENTARY:
ACCESS INTO SCIENCE EDUCATION IS CRITICAL TO THE NATION'S FUTURE -

The world is changing at breakneck speed. This provides students with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, practically limitless career opportunities. Then why aren't teens entering the educational programs necessary to fill these career fields and help the U.S. keep pace with other countries?

Our guest commentator believes to reduce the gap and prepare more K thru 12 and college students, especially minorities and women for (STEM) careers, the U.S. must widen the education funnel so more students will enter these critical disciplines.

Dr. Mel Schiavelli says this requires making science and technology more accessible and relevant and introducing new approaches to teaching. Dr. Schiavelli is a Professor of Chemistry, and President of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania. He comments that it starts with motivation.

Dr. Mel Schiavelli comments. (3:37)

**(Attention Listeners and Program Directors. The website given at the end of the above segment was: www.HarrisburgU.net.)**