Relevance Matters: Science needs a woman’s touch

May 14, 2010 at 8:57 am Leave a comment

Invention Magazine is not where I look for deep insight into science and computing education, but the piece earlier this month on “Science needs a woman’s touch” is really interesting.  In particular, this anecdote about what female students are looking for relates to my point in “Playing the Cards You’re Dealt” — students are looking for relevance, even if they themselves don’t know where their career will go or what they will be doing. The perception of relevance, the sense that it’s worth doing, is enough.

Female enrollment in the life sciences and geology remains robust; not so for physics and computer science. Herbers offers a telling anecdote.

One university wanted to interest girls in computer science. It sent out fliers to a local high school, inviting students to build computers on a Saturday morning. All boys showed up.

The university tried it again. This time it changed the wording to note the computers would be donated to inner-city schools. Girls showed up en mass.

Geology and life sciences tend to offer more tangible connections to solutions for real-world problems, Herbers says, which isn’t always articulated in the case of mechanical, electrical and computer sciences.

via Inventors Digest – The Invention Magazine for Idea People.

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