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Tech-Girl Monthly: December 2016

Hacking Computer Science Education


The Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) starts December 5. It is held in December in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Hopper (December 9, 1906). CSEdWeek was founded in 2009 as a call to action to "raise awareness about the need to elevate computer science education at all levels and to underscore the critical role of computing in all careers". In 2013, the Hour of Code movement began providing coding activities for this week and has now reached over 300 million "hours served". This year Virginia became the first state to require computer science to be integrated at all K-12 levels. 

While great strides have been made to make computer science more accessible to all, there are still many challenges. A recent study found that 8 states had fewer than 10 girls taking the AP Computer Science Exam and that girls make up only 23% of test takers.
SPARK! Hackathon: Student-Centered Learning in the Real World
 
One proven way to make computer science more compelling to a more diverse set of students is showing how it can empower them to solve real world problems. Toward that end, Tech-Girls and Charlottesville Women in Tech are excited to support the SPARK! High School Hackathon with it's focus on increasing diversity and connecting students with not only the local tech community, but also globally through Mozilla's participation. "Mozilla is thrilled to partner with SPARK and St. Anne's-Belfield School to invite a diverse group of teens to work on real-world problems that help develop their web literacy and let them practice open innovation by inventing new IoT devices with inexpensive, widely available tools," says Mozilla curriculum developer Chad Sansing. "We know that the diversity and imagination young people bring to the Web are key to promoting a healthy Internet open and accessible for all."

Spotlight: Clara Duffy and Leela Ghaemmaghami

Each month we spotlight a woman or girl in tech who inspires us. This month we are highlighting Clara Duffy and Leela Ghaemmaghami, the youngest-ever grand prize winners of the 2016 TomTom Festival’s Crowdfunded Pitch Night! Two years ago, they started, Seniors Connect, to help elderly people in the Charlottesville area learn how to use technology. Today they are seniors at St. Anne’s Belfield School
How do you work with technology today? 
We run a business in which we help the Seniors in our community understand their own technology so that they can better connect with their loved ones. We give group lessons on broad topics such as email and Facebook, along with private lessons on more specific issues.

Why would you recommend students participate in the SPARK! Hackathon?
We encourage others to get involved with the hackathon because it allows you to explore an area of interest in technology and even solve a real world problem with your knowledge, two things that aren't always possible in class. Furthermore, it is fun even without much coding experience: some of our friends who participated last year had little to no coding experience and were able to bring great insight to our team in extremely important ways such as creativity and organization.

Read more.

Activities & Events

  • December 10 - Girls' Geek Day at Baker Butler Elementary. GGD is all about sparking elementary school girls interest in technology and computing by providing a fun, collaborative, hands-on environment to learn new tech skills and helping them connect to other STEM programs in the community. Registration required.
  • December 10 - Big Ideas Greenway Symposium. Organized by students and hosted by St. Anne's-Belfield School, expand your horizons at this free event is designed to enhance community dialog. RSVP requested.
  • December 16 (deadline) - The second annual SPARK! Hackathon is coming January 28 & 29, 2017! This two-day event of learning and hacking is open to high school students throughout the region and offers them a unique opportunity to get connected to industry experts and other students who are passionate about changing the world through technology. Apply now!
  • December 31 (deadline) - CBIC Tech Tour Scholarship Application. All Juniors and Seniors who participate in tour are eligible to apply for the scholarship. Every year CBIC awards two $2500 scholarships. Apply now.
  • Thursdays at 6:30pm - Tech-Girls Maker Club. The Maker Club is open to all women & girls who are interested in learning together how to bring our wearable tech fashion ideas to life through sewing & soldering, programming & electronics and more. Anyone under 18 must attend with parent/legal guardian. If you are interested, please complete this form.
  • Ongoing - Make It @ the Library, 4:00pm, second Wednesdays at Central Library. Kickstart your creativity with this Pop-up Makerspace. Open to ages 10-15.
  • Ongoing - Tween Scene: STEAM at 4:00pm, second Tuesdays at Louisa County Library.
  • Ongoing - Northside Makerspace. Tuesdays at 6-8pm, Thursdays at 3-5pm & Saturdays 10:30am-12:30pm at Northside Library. Ages 11+ and patrons must be accompanied by adult 16 or order.

Virtual & Global

  • December 5-11 - Hour of Code. Join millions around the world during the Computer Science Education Week’s Hour of Code. 
  • December 10 (deadline) - The Search for Hidden Figures. Tell them how you’ll use STEM to change the world, and you could win $50,000 in scholarship money, plus exciting opportunities that will help you pursue the work you love.
  • December 31 (team recruitment deadline) - Technovation Challenge. Every year, Technovation invites teams of girls from all over the world to learn and apply the skills needed to solve real-world problems through technology. Technovation takes students through 4 stages of launching a mobile app startup, inspired by the principles of design thinking. 
  • January 25 (deadline) - The Mars Medical Challenge.  If you are a K-12 student in the United States, your challenge is to create a digital 3D model of an object that could be used by an astronaut to maintain physical health on a 3-year mission to Mars.
  • February 6 (deadline) - ExploraVision competition for K-12 students engages the next generation in real world problem solving with a strong emphasis on STEM.
  • February 15 (deadline) - ProjectCSGirls is a competition designed to challenge middle school girls to actively use computer science and technology to develop a solution to an imminent social problem.

Get Involved!

Are you ready to become a mentor or sponsor a Tech-Girl event? Can you help us get the word out? However you would like to get involved, we need you! 
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2016 Tech-Girls, This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
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