On Saturday March 3, 2012, I had the pleasure of serving as the master of ceremonies at the 3rd annual Bay Area Affiliate Aspirations in Computing Award Ceremony at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. This fantastic NCWIT program celebrates the hard work and talent of girls and teachers nationwide every year. It was a humbling and an inspiring moment. Twenty-three outstanding high school students from the San Francisco Bay Area were honored for their achievements in computer science.
In early December, I was introduced to the Motorola Mobility Grant project that NCWIT was offering for Aspirations recipients. This is a project where young women are engaged in building a mobile application on the Android platform.
March 3, 2012, the Bay Area Aspirations Award Ceremony took place at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. Parents, teachers, supporters, and of course, the girls, filled the environment with smiles. The day was gorgeous, and the California sunshine definitely attended the event, too. Anyone could sense the excitement of the girls who were finally being told Good Job, Keep Going, You're Doing Great, You Can.
Today, NCWIT announced the Aspirations in Computing Video Challenge! This contest is exclusively for NCWIT Award winners and runners-up. The entire NCWIT community will be invited to participate in the voting. The top 10 videos in each category (individual and group – up to three members per group), as determined by the number of votes at the end of the contest will be considered finalists, and will be judged by a panel of NCWIT staff.
Has your institution embraced new approaches to teaching and learning? A recent conference at Harvard looked at this topic, finding that "A growing body of evidence from the classroom, coupled with emerging research in cognitive psychology and neuroscience, is lending insight into how people learn, but teaching on most college campuses has not changed much." As higher education institutions see a student body increasingly concerned with its "ROI" and feel competition from non-traditional online or vocational models, many are pushing to evolve their practices - exchanging lectures for writing or quizzes, and teaching graduate researchers how to teach. Do you think an openness to new pedagogical approaches could open the door for teaching and learning computing among a broader audience?
Did you know that last week Dallas public schools bussed thousands of boys to a movie screening of "Red Tails" -- which tells the story of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen pilots, who during World War II became the first black aviators to serve in the U.S. Military -- but excluded girls? A spokesman for the Dallas Independent School District said officials took only boys to see "Red Tails" because space at the movie theater was limited; leaders of the district also "thought boys would enjoy the movie more than girls." Some female students were shown a different movie instead, "Akeelah and the Bee," about an 11-year-old girl who competes in a national spelling bee.
On February 10, 2012, the NCWIT El Paso/Las Cruces Affiliate Award Event was held at the University of Texas at El Paso’s Chemistry and Computer Science Building. During this ceremony, the winners and runners-up of the award were recognized for their achievements and provided with their respective rewards. The winner of the educator award, Mr. Ismail Turel, was also revered in this event. Amongst the winners were Andrea Rivera, who was also a was a national winner, and Noor Muhyi, who not only was a national winner, but was also selected to participate at the White House Science Fair.