I’ve always felt like STEM was out of reach for me. It wasn’t that I felt locked out of the party, like many women throughout history have been, I just never thought I would actually enjoy a job in any of those fields. Much like our guest writer Emily explained, I love the idea of more women working in STEM… but other women, not me. Just the thought of sorting through code or equations when I could be reading or writing makes my eyes glaze over.
Luckily, over the last couple years, I had the serendipitous opportunity to work at a lab that combines the hands-on approach of maker culture with consideration for the humanities. This job forced me to approach a lot of tasks that I had never really encountered before, but it allowed me to do so from the perspective of a humanities student. We were prototyping, yes, but with the goal of understanding more about history, culture, and theory. My experiences at the lab gave me a whole new level of interest in the field of STEM and, while I still don’t feel like it’s the field for me, I feel confident enough to approach coding or engineering for some very (VERY) basic projects. It’s opened the door to ideas that once felt impossible to even consider.
I’m particularly excited to learn about the accessibility of maker culture because I recently decided to pursue a career in teaching. The more I learn about in the world of making and prototyping, the more excited I am to implement these approaches when teaching.
If you look up the basics of circuit building online you will probably find a page that highlights all the tools and parts you will need to build a basic circuit. While this is incredibly helpful, for someone like me it’s also overwhelming. Even when approaching a much more accessible tool, like Arduino, circuit building can seem like something only experts should do.
That’s why I’m so thankful for kid-friendly tech companies who want to make this process simpler and more interesting for kids (and those of us with a child’s attention span for detail).
The first time I tried circuit building was with a Makey Makey, a kit that easily assembles into a simple circuit and allows you to use a variety of household items as computer keys (like food, pencil markings, and play dough).
I also brought it to work with me when I was running a summer kids program and got the kids to assemble it themselves. They loved the experience and were full of questions about why and how we could turn cucumber slices into a piano keyboard. I can only imagine how a simple circuitboard like the Makey Makey, or circuit stickers like those at Chibitronics, could make simple physics that much more exciting to learn. Continue reading
Posted in education, technology
Tagged 3D modeling, 3D printing, access, assemble, circuits, class, classroom, click, coding, computer, Education, engineering, experience, fingertips, hope, idea, internet, Khan academy, kid friendly, kids, kit, learning, lucky, make, Maker, Maker space, Makey Makey, making, physics, print, program, prototype, proud, questions, Shapeways, simple, STEM, summer, teacher, Teaching, tynker, university, video, women
Today, on International Women’s Day, I’ve been reminded of how grateful I should be. Maybe it’s because I’ve been flipping through images of women’s protests around the world. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching sentimental videos that make me feel inspired (even if they are marketing ploys by Google). Either way, I can’t help but feel grateful.
By the time this post goes up around midnight tonight, it will no longer be International Women’s Day. Before then, I’d like to take a moment to be thankful, and highlight ways we can support other women in their fight to win these privileges too.
1. Freedom and Safety
When I get up in the morning, I do not feel afraid. My country is not at war. My physical safety is not threatened. Throughout history, this was not something most women could take for granted. In many countries around the world this is still something women cannot take for granted.
There are many organizations working to ensure women’s safety. There are a variety of organizations that are working to help women (and men and children) from areas like Syria that have been affected by war. Unfortunately, in unstable situations like these, rape and sexual violence become weapons of war. The Stop Rape Now website highlights a variety of organizations that work with victims of sexual assault and promote rape prevention education. Continue reading
Posted in feminism
Tagged #WomenYouShoulHaveHeardOf, able-bodied, access, afraid, aspire, Canadian, career, cis-gender, criticism, domestic violence, Education, Education for girls, employment, encourage, family, female, feminism, fight like a girl, freedom, Friends, gender, Girls, Hilary Clinton, inspire, International Women's Day, invest, job, Kiva, Malala fund, Malala Yousafzai, manhood, microloans, middle class, Niger, organization, physical, physical security, president, privilege, rape, Refugee, role models, safe, safety, sexual violence, spouse, succeed, threatened, Violence, vocational school, war, white, women, Women's Day, work
Posted in Canada, Economy, environmentalism
Tagged $2.25 per million litres, access, Alberta, Alberta drivers, B.C. residents, bad track record, BC culture, beach, British Columbia, california, camping, Canada, CBC, climate change, commodity, debate, developing nations, drought, Economics, fees, freshwater, furious, ground water, legal, NAFTA, Nestle, North American Water and Power Alliance, pollution, precedent, protected land, provinces, public control, Rocky Mountain Trench, sell, sue, Sum of Us, summer, Sun Belt Water Inc, swimming, threat, U.S.A., water, water access, water control, water exports, water policy, water sovereignty, WTO