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Broadening Participation in Computing Fred Martin, Computer Science Dept, UMass Lowell Alana Wiens, Commonwealth Information Technology Initiative (CITI), UMass Amherst What Computing Looks Like What Computing Looks Like What Computing Looks Like UMass Amherst 4% female undergraduates

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Broadening Participation in Computing

Fred Martin, Computer Science Dept, UMass Lowell

Alana Wiens, Commonwealth Information Technology Initiative (CITI), UMass Amherst

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What Computing Looks Like

  • UMass Amherst

    • 4% female undergraduates

    • 2 % minority undergraduates

  • UMass Lowell

    • Similar percentage female

    • Ethnically diverse

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What Computing Looks Like

  • Computer science is now a largely white male population

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  • IT fluency is needed for all types of work - excluding women & minorities creates a digital divide

  • We need more IT fluent workers

  • IT fluency is now a basic life skill

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  • “Begin a discussion on equity for educational stakeholders. A more equitable and inclusive computer culture depends on consciousness - raising within schools about issues of gender, race, and class. School districts should put in place mechanisms that will facilitate such conversations…..” (Tech Savvy 2000)

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Tech Savvy

  • Computer culture vs. computer phobic

  • Confidence gap

  • Programming as an entry point

  • Games

  • Types of jobs in computing

  • Messages from home

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Programs & Examples

  • DESIGNLABs and iCODE (Internet Community of Design Engineers) — these are after-school engineering programs

  • Artbotics — an after-school art-robotics-computing club

  • Integrating Computing into Middle School Science — a research program to develop activities for science classrooms that connect with computing

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  • Kit-based program for teachers to lead afterschool engineering design programs

  • Developed by Douglas Prime, UMass Lowell

  • Leads into iCODE program

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iCODE: Internet Community of Design Engineers

  • Web- and kit-based program for students to build microcontroller technology projects

  • Taught in after-school clubs

  • 3-year NSF program

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  • NSF-funded program to develop univ-level intro CS course

  • Course includes service-learning after-school club with HS students

  • Collaboration with The Revolving Museum (Lowell, MA)

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Cricket Science

  • Teachers & kids to develop their own science experiments with microcontrollers

  • Professional development community & classroom research

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Promising Solutions

  • Information Technology Across the Curriculum (ITAC)

    • IT fluency within the context of other subjects

      • Music, art, biology, history

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  • ITAC at UMass Amherst

    • IT Minor

      • 42% female, 17% under represented minorities

      • Courses

        • Culture and Politics of the Internet

        • Computer Animation I

        • Genomics and Bioinformatics

        • Finding, Using & Evaluating Information Electronically

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Teacher Professional Dev’t

  • Commonwealth Information Technology Initiative (CITI)

    • Working with teachers across Massachusetts: 100+ teachers in 78 districts

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Upcoming Programs

  • Rolling out diversity programs in 2007

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What Can You Do?

  • Raise awareness

  • Encourage, encourage, encourage

  • Create activities that appeal to many populations

  • Affirm technology knowledge students have

  • Consider 21st century skills

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Questions to Consider

  • What promising practices are you already doing?

  • How do your school’s activities appeal beyond the “geek stereotypes”?

  • How can you adapt your current activities to appeal more broadly?

  • What are some obstacles you need help overcoming for progress?

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