I was in a meeting a few months back, and a parent was talking about how there really are so few women computer engineers in the work force. He added that not only that, there are just so few engineers. My mind immediately went to my uncle. The man was a whiz at computers, but socially could barely hold a conversation with even his family. He enjoyed solitude and would have never been the life of any party. Not exactly the job I envision for my daughter. This is the stereotype that has lived in my head now for decades. That all changed when I attended the GAFE Summit.
Google Apps for Education is a network of educators and trainers designed to implement and integrate focused learning using Google Apps for Education and other tools. It teaches educators to promote student learning and bridge that ever needed gap of creating 21st Century students. But, I took away much more than that in that weekend at Roseville High School. I was inspired. Giddy. I realized I needed to pass along that enthusiasm to my students, in some way. Any way. So I decided to jump.
Now I am a planner by nature. I want to know what the weather will be like, have on the right outfit, slather the correct amount of SPF, and even dip my toe in the water before I swim. However, something happens when you’re a teacher, mom, wife, marathon runner, and locator of all lost objects–you have little time. I figured, if anything was going to happen, I needed to start swimming fully clothed.
Last week I opened the lab and simply instructed the fifteen or so middle schoolers who came by, to explore. What happened? They were engaged. They were playing games and actually exploring the world of code. Now, I still don’t fully understand it myself, but it didn’t seem to matter. They were showing ME different sites. Teaching ME! It was truly inspiring.
I got an email the next day from the parent who had initially mentioned the statistics in that meeting a few months back. He was so excited I had started this new club. He has a friend who works for Facebook and even bragged to him. The response, “How many girls showed up?” I searched my head for the picture of the computer- lined room–I only counted three. Guess I have my work cut out for me.
My goal as an educator is to inspire. I was inspired. Now it’s time to pay it forward. The water is perfect.