I’ve been sorting, digitizing, filing and discarding handouts and brochures from conference events I’ve collected the past few months, and ran across a “Talking Points” handout from the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) titled, “Why should young women consider a career in Information Technology?” The handout itself is available as a printable PDF file, and their accompanying website includes info from the handout as well as additional links. I found the following suggestions in response to the question “How can a young woman prepare now for a career in IT?” most interesting. NCWIT suggests the following, which are equally applicable for young men as well as young women:
- Get creative with computers. Explore computer programming with Scratch or Alice (available for free at scratch.mit.edu or alice.org).
- Keep taking math classes. Math skills are important in many jobs. Taking these classes will help her keep her options open.
- Take computer science courses. If they are not offered at her school she may find them at a local community college.
- Study art, language, science, and music. IT employers look for well-rounded employees.
- Join after-school computing or technology clubs. Also look for summer computing camps. They’re fun, and she will learn new things.
In reference to the first recommendation, “get digitally creative,” the NCWIT website also suggests the program SiMPLE to make games, change photographs, produce special effects, and more. The SiMPLE website describes the program as:
a Free beginner-friendly programming language for kids (and adults) who are looking for a new way to have fun with their computers.
To this list, I would also suggesting adding “Begin and continue building an online digital portfolio which communicates projects, skills, and experiences reflecting digital creativity.” Part of managing an online identity, in my view, is proactively and safely creating virtual spaces which accurately reflect what we know and can do. I’m really looking forward to H. Songhai’s presentation for the 2008 K-12 Online Conference titled, “What Did You Do In School…?” I’m expecting he’ll build on some of the ideas he shared in the January 2007 video “Perspectives on classroom blogging video.” I previously just published this video on my own blog, but to share these ideas with a wider audience I’ve gone ahead and published this to blip.tv:
I resonate with all the ideas shared in this video, but particularly those from H. Songhai about our need to help our students create meaningful artifacts from their school careers which reflect what they have done and know, as well as what they CAN do in authentic ways. Bob Sprankle discussed this idea as well in his 2008 BLC presentation “Podcasting with Purpose.” Bob tells the story of finding his 4th grade report card and wanting more information about what his grades actually meant. Bob recommended Frank Smith’s “The Book of Learning and Forgetting” in this context, which I have not read yet. I’ve added it to my own Amazon wish list!
This past weekend as our family trekked across part of I-40 returning from the XIT Rodeo and Reunion in Dalhart, Texas, we faced again the “consume or create” challenge which digital screens present in our schools, in our homes, and even in our cars thanks to portable digital devices. My eight year old daughter primarily uses our laptops and iPhone/iTouch computers to watch movies and listen to music. Although I’ve introduced her to Scratch and digital art programs like TuxPaint briefly, she almost always self-selects a consumptive or interactive computing program rather than a creative one. (She does love PhotoBooth, but she and her sister reach a creative ceiling fairly quickly with that program.) This is something we are going to keep working on… I need to spend more time in all of these programs myself to get more familiar with them as well as model how they can be used in fun and creative ways. She doesn’t have a peer group outside our family currently to support and encourage her in using these types of programs in creative ways. Our experiences with stopmotion filmmaking this summer at a fine arts camp were great, but that learning community was short-lived. I hope we find other ways to follow the good suggestions from NCWIT in the months and years ahead.
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On this day..
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- Use IFTTT to Auto-Tweet New Posts from Your Classroom Blog - 2013
- Reflections from the M - 2011
- We Need More Hawkeyes - 2010
- Moving Beyond the Tools.....How Do We Implement Them? - 2010
- Are virtual interactions REAL? A video answer from @danlovejoy - 2009
- New media changing journalism norms - 2009
- Videos for Professional Development - 2007
- Learning with the Podcast Shuffle - 2005
- Google news embraces RSS feeds! - 2005