Oct 31 2006

Why Technology is Growing Favor With Girls and Schools

Increasing numbers of high school students are setting their sites on college; more girls are embracing technology; and a growing number of schools are using high-speed Internet access, notebooks PCs and wireless networks.

Shooting for the Stars

Most high school students understand the value of a good education. According to a survey by the Washington, D.C.-based National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), many high school sophomores expect to go on to higher education. Only 18 percent of those polled predict they’ll complete only high school or earn less than a four-year college degree. On the other end, 36 percent of the students expect to graduate from a four-year program. Twenty percent anticipate earning a master’s degree, and 16 percent hope to receive a Ph.D., M.D. or other advanced degrees.

Visit the NCES Web site at www.nces.ed.gov.

Serving Alabama

In a partnership with Alabama Public Television’s digital multimedia education service (APTPLUS), 10 schools in Alabama will soon receive a computer server with hard drive space capable of holding an entire library. Via APTPLUS’s datacasting service, the server will store more than 1,900 curriculum videos, correlated teacher guides, 25,000 encyclopedia articles and a variety of APT programs from its “Discovering Alabama” series.

For more information, visit www.aptplus.org.

Girls Embrace Tech

The days of school-age girls playing with dolls is giving way to more computer-related play time. The Girl Tech Web site of Radica Games encourages girls to use and enjoy technology. The company sells a line of electronic products designed specifically for girls, such as a portable photo booth where girls can pose and take instant pictures, as well as offering ChickChat discussion forums, software reviews and more.

For more info, visit www.girltech.com.

All Wired Up

Schools’ use of high-speed Internet access, notebook PCs and wireless networks has grown dramatically in the United States during the last several years, according to the 2004 Technology in Education report by Shelton, Conn.-based Market Data Retrieval. Based on survey responses from 25,000 schools, the MDR report shows that 84 percent of schools used a high-speed Internet connection in 2004, compared to 76 percent in 2002; 53 percent used notebook PCs in the classroom last year, compared to 36 percent in 2002; and 37 percent of schools installed a wireless network last year, compared to 15 percent in 2002.

Girls, Start Your Computers

Girlstart, an Austin, Texas-based program that encourages young women to explore technology and engineering, is growing by leaps and bounds. Founded in 1997, Girlstart seeks to narrow the digital divide between boys and girls in the classroom by enabling female students to participate in tech-oriented after-school programs and summer camps.

The organization has opened a new Girlstart Tech Center, which has 5,000 square feet dedicated to the exploration of math, science and technology. The facility is double the size of the original center, which opened in 2000 with 15 computer stations.

Visit www.girlstart.org for more information.

Women at the IT Forefront

IT leaders from around the world will gather in Baltimore in June to discuss the under-representation of women in the technology field at the International Symposium on Women and Information and Communication Technology.

Ellen Sauerbrey, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Commission for Women, will serve as honorary chair. Authors Jo Sanders, Sue Rosser and Sophia Huyer will discuss the global economy and the importance of women participating in technology.

The conference is organized by the Center for Women and Information Technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), the World Trade Center Institute, and the Women in Global Science and Technology. For more conference details, visit www.wtci.org/CWIT/WomenandICT_CreatingGlobalTransformation.htm.

Say It Ain’t So

According to a study by the American Association of University Women, girls perceive technology occupations as solitary, antisocial, tedious and isolated. Because of the lack of visible, high-profile female role models in the computing world, girls maintain a “computer geek” stereotype of IT professionals.

As a result, even though women represent nearly 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, they represent only 20 percent of the workers in IT professions. Women receive just 28 percent of computer science bachelor’s degrees, down from 37 percent in 1984, making computer science the only field in which women’s participation has actually decreased.

For information about women in computer science, visit http://www.meetingtomorrow.com/cms-category/women-in-computer-science

Percentage of women workers in IT: 20%

pla•gia•rize (pla’je-riz’) v. -rized, riz•ing. To use and pass off (the ideas or writings of another) as one’s own.

Do Your Own Work

Web-based research offers countless learning opportunities for students and has opened doors that previously didn’t exist. It has also made plagiarism easier to commit—either inadvertently or intentionally. But if students don’t understand the basics of plagiarism, how can they be expected to avoid it?

Plagiarism.org offers comprehensive information and tools designed to prevent and detect plagiarism. Students and instructors can get an education in plagiarism, and institutions can obtain plagiarism detection tools from the site.

To find out more, visit www.plagiarism.org.