Math is Tough Barbie strikes again?

Yep I’m pretty upset over the Barbie that has raised a new uproar. Luckily girls are striking back with Feminist Hacker Barbie.  I should mention that I’m not a strong feminist, being that I’m a WAHM that spends most of my time running kids from here to there and taking care of my kids to the exclusion of my career.

I was a computer programmer though for 20+ years and I have taught classes, both college level and to kids on programming and even game design.  (The coding part!)  I’ll be one of the first to say that the design part isn’t my strongest skill, but I LOVE coding. So when I see this it bothers me. My husband has pointed out that there aren’t many girls taking science classes. What’s interesting is that computer programming was originally for girls because of the typing. An article by Stanford pointed out that as late as the 1960s it was thought to be the ideal career choice for women.  To quote

As computer scientist Dr. Grace Hopper told a reporter, programming was “just like planning a dinner. You have to plan ahead and schedule everything so that it’s ready when you need it…. Women are ‘naturals’ at computer programming.” James Adams, the director of education for the Association for Computing Machinery, agreed: “I don’t know of any other field, outside of teaching, where there’s as much opportunity for a woman.” – See more at: http://gender.stanford.edu/news/2011/researcher-reveals-how-%E2%80%9Ccomputer-geeks%E2%80%9D-replaced-%E2%80%9Ccomputergirls%E2%80%9D#sthash.5vGfOZag.dpuf
I personally LOVE computer programming and am flabbergasted that Barbie has to get her friends (guy friends) to help make her design into  actual computer code!   I love that my son’s share my love for computers, but if I had a daughter I would expect her to be just as excited by programming.
What can we do to change these stereotypes?  What happened that changed it to a male field in the first place?
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KY FLL Events!

The first events are appoaching!

Event Sub-type Event Name Event Venue Country State/Province City Date(s)sort descending
Qualifying Event WKU FLL Qualifier Tournament Knicely Conference Center – WKU South Campus US KY Bowling Green 22-Nov-2014
Qualifying Event Southeast Kentucky Regional Qualifier East Perry Elementary School US KY Hazard 22-Nov-2014
Qualifying Event Engineers of Tomorrow KY FLL State Regional Qualifier Bullitt East High School US KY Mount Washington 06-Dec-2014
Qualifying Event Northern Kentucky Regional FIRST® LEGO League Robotics Tournament and Jr. FIRST® LEGO League Engineering Expo Northern Kentucky University US KY Highland Heights 06-Dec-2014
Qualifying Event Owensboro Regional FLL Tournament Advanced Technology Center on Owensboro Community and Technical College Main Campus US KY Owensboro 06-Dec-2014
Qualifying Event UK FIRST Lego League Regional Tournament UK Student Center Ballroom US KY Lexington 06-Dec-2014
Qualifying Event Glasgow FLL Regional Tournament Glasgow Middle School US KY Glasgow 13-Dec-2014
Qualifying Event West Kentucky FLL Regional Qualifier West Kentucky Community & Technical College- Emerging Technology Center US KY Paducah 13-Dec-2014
Qualifying Event Ashland FLL Regional Qualifier Tournament Ashland Community & Technical College – Technology Drive Campus US KY Grayson 13-Dec-2014
Championship Tournament Kentucky State Championship Tournament Northern Kentucky University US KY Highland Heights 07-Feb-2015
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Girls in Science (CSC offerings)

I just noticed the program offerings from Carnegie Science Center making the rounds on social media:

CSC program offering

I’ve heard lots of thoughts on this, from girls just aren’t interested in science to the leaders aren’t doing enough.  I do know anecdotally that most of my friends are interested in science, went on to pursue degrees in science and would have jumped at the chance to take the boy classes. They also: barely wear makeup, sign their kids up for enrichment when they can and try to help other kids be more involved. So I have no answer as far as the general populace.

In a past life I headed up a robotics team.  Our first team was 2 girls and 3 boys.  Not equal, but it was an odd number.  That being said my son was one of the boys so if you take him out of the equation the kids were equal as far as gender. Those kids are now 21 and they were 8 at the time, so it’s been a long time!  They have each went on to college and are doing great.  I know I didn’t make an effort to get girls at the time, everything just fell into place.

I have no solutions, but I do know something has to be done. As you look at the makeup of science classes in current colleges they are overwhelming male.  How do you change a stereotype – especially when barbie is there to remind us that ‘Math is Tough’.  Any suggestions?

 

Carnegie Science Center defends their decision – http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/10/07/Science-center-doesn-t-sparkle-in-girls-scouting-offerings-critics-say/stories/201410070092

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2013 KY FIRST LEGO League Championship Results

Click on this link to see the complete list of the team awards from the 2013 KY-FLL State Championships, along with the judges’ comments. Congrats to all the participants. YOU ARE ALL WINNERS even if the judges were not able to single you out for a specific award. http://orgs.wku.edu/kyfll/news/images/2013-championship-awards.pdf
– Keith Lancaster

KY FIRST LEGO League Facebook group
More Pictures and Information are available

Congratulations to All the Teams!

 

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Smart PJs

The morning news just showed smart PJs – pajamas for bedtime stories.  The $25 Smart PJ’s,which are available in pink and blue, have 47 colorful dot patterns that work with an app. When a camera on a tablet or phone is held over the dots, the app will launch an interactive bedtime story or show other types of educational content, including photos of animals or objects.
qrcode.15298540

From what I can tell they use technology like QR codes to allow your smart phone to scan the dots on the pajamas and pull up information.  – The QR Code to the left pulls up Googles web site but could easily be set up to pull up any page that I would have liked.  To create your own QR Code you can use the website – http://www.qrstuff.com/index.html –  QR Codes can be included on business cards, screen printed on shirts, or even shown with a projector and scanned with your smart phone.

The real question though is should kids be taking a smart phone to bed and pulling up their own bedtime stories?  In some ways this is great, kids get the fun of playing with technology and improve their reading – but they are missing out on that family time that is so important.

 

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