One thing I’ve always wanted to do for Ada Lovelace Day is produce educational resource packs about women in STEM, including ways to encourage girls to engage more with STEM subjects. I’ve had many requests in the past to produce such materials, but we’ve never had the money to do it, until now! Thanks to sponsorship from ARM, we have now kicked off our education project, which we’ve started in earnest over on our new forum.
We will be producing materials to support Year 7 (11-12) pupils in the UK, and will be releasing them under a Creative Commons licence to that they can be localised by volunteers.
The first stage of the project is to talk to teachers, parents, educators, science communicators and STEM experts in order to define the scope of the project, to work out what sort of materials are actually needed and how they support the National Curriculum. In order to do that, I’ve started a number of conversations on the forum, including:
- A discussion about where the emphasis should be, on women, on STEM, or a bit of both
- How after school activities might fit in
- A discussion of what needs teachers and parents really have
There’s a lot more to discuss than that, obviously, and I’m very keen to hear from different perspectives on all these and related issues.
At the moment, I’m imagining that the resources pack could cover:
- Information on women in STEM who can act as role models, both individuals and teams
- Resources for studying STEM subjects, particularly ones suitable for girls or which are gender neutral
- Information on gender literacy, including marketing and stereotypes
- Suggestions on how to use after school activities to support girls interested in STEM
But this list is very much open to discussion, as everything is.
What can you do?
If you’re interested in supporting this project, then please do get involved on the forum. Some of the questions I’d like to discuss include:
- What sort of materials would be most useful to teachers? Are we talking lesson plans? Profiles of women in STEM? Lists of online STEM resources? All of the above?
- How can we support the National Curriculum? I don’t want to produce materials that are only useful once a year on Ada Lovelace Day, but something which supports year round teaching.
- Can we create a set of guidelines for assessing whether an online teaching resource supports girls in STEM? For example, does it challenge or support existing gender stereotypes?
It would be great if teachers and educators would be willing to share examples of great teaching materials that they would like to see more of, for example, lesson plans, activities, and worksheets. It would also be incredibly useful if people could share links to resources that already exist which might be relevant. We have no desire to reinvent the wheel, so want to compile a great list of online resources that support our mission of encouraging girls to consider STEM subjects.
And, as with any such project, there’s bound to be stuff we haven’t thought about that others can point out to us. We’re incredibly interested to hear from you, so please do get involved! And remember to share this blog post widely and encourage friends and colleagues to get involved too.