In my reading, I have learned that many women do not take more advanced computer science classes in high school because they are not counted academically when competing for college admissions slots. Typically computer science courses, such as programming, are labeled as elective or technical art courses, which have no or very little competitive value in the college admissions process. Given this reality, it is not surprising that most women enter college without considering computer science as a course of study or a career, even if they have an interest in computing.
Last week I and a number of other representatives from NCWIT member organizations attended the 2008 Microsoft Faculty Summit, at the invitation of our host and NCWIT Executive Advisory Council member, Rick Rashid of Microsoft Research. It was also great fun to see everybody, I learned a lot, and my attendance germinated some important new ideas for NCWIT.
In the opening session, Dr. Tony Hey talked about some cool new projects in the works at Microsoft Research:
NCWIT has officially entered the world of social networking with our official NCWIT Supporters Facebook Group. We encourage you to join. Just search "NCWIT" within groups. The group is open and membership is not restricted. As always, important information will always be available on the NCWIT website, but the Facebook group is a great way to have discussions and get to know one another (put faces to names).
That is what a man asked me, as I hopped on the elevator to join the hundreds (felt like thousands) of other female bloggers for our first day of talks at the Westin-St. Francis hotel in San Francisco.
Somehow, between the munching, swag-grabbing, shopping at Macys, and Wii-playing, professional bloggers, Mommy bloggers, and amateur bloggers all managed to hold numerous conversations about the intricacies of the blogosphere.
I don't always read my Systers mail. It accumulates in a mailbox until I have the time to indulge myself in its wealth of information, insights, encouragement and opportunities for women, about women, by women. During one such binge a year ago, I came across a brief post announcing a new grant, the Hello Tomorrow Fund, created by Avon.
NCWIT has added another Program-in-a-Box to our resource library: Computer Science-in-a-Box: Unplug Your Curriculum. This box introduces fundamental building blocks of computer science to K-12 students -- without using computers! Computer Science-in-a-Box is designed primarily for use with kids ages 9 to 14, and its activities teach students how computers work by explainng critical mathematics concepts such as number systems, algorithms, and logic.