I watched the video Black Girls Code: Crashing Digital Gender Divide and I was shocked at the statistics Kimberly Bryant gave about students and computer science. The statistic that surprised me the most was that only about 0.3% of girls choose computer science as their major in college. Bryant also gave specific statistics taken from California indicating that Black and Latino students are usually 3 levels behind white students in math and science courses, and 90% of girls don’t have internet access or even access to technological devices period to supplement their studies. All these statistics support the problem that is very evident. There is a huge digital gender divide between girls and boys and whites and minorities in coding, STEM, and education entirely.
As short as the video was, there is a lot to be addressed. Addressing equity in the classroom doesn’t only mean treating male and female students equally. It also means making sure all students have equal opportunities to succeed and that is where the teacher comes in. First, I think educators need to try and identify their biases in the classroom and do their best to eliminate those biases. A common example is gender bias. I would combat gender bias in my classroom by using a calling method, maybe popsicle sticks with students names written on them. By using the sticks to call on students to response, I can make sure every students is heard equally, responsible for participating, and paying attention in the classroom. Clickers are also a great method for making sure all students participate. This method can also encourage the students that are shyer to participate. I would also like to put students in groups quite frequently. Sometimes group settings take the pressure off of those students that are apprehensive to share their ideas to the entire class because in smaller crowds there is less of a threat. Those are all things that can help crush those horrible statistics concerning low graduation rates and students falling levels behind in school.
Additionally, I think it is important to review the curricula ahead of time so that it will give me time to include female experiences into the lessons. Sometimes the textbooks and videos that teachers are provided with are loaded heavily with examples that male students would relate to. That can cause the female students to become disengaged and that lack of focus can cause them to miss information and fall behind.
I would also like to create opportunities for students to work on assignments in class that involve the internet and technological devices. Not all students have access to technology at home and many times those students are students of color. Regardless of those students’ circumstances at home, I would like to create an environment where there are able to have the opportunity to experience just as much as the students in the class that have technology available to them at home.
Finally, I would like to look for cool learning opportunities outside of the classroom, whether they are volunteer opportunities or opportunities to advance and dive into subjects (other than Chemistry) that all students may enjoy. I say that because my boyfriend codes and it something I wish I was exposed to as a child/teen. It seems so complicated, yet interesting and limitless in its applications. I’ve known about Black Girls Code for years now and all the programs and camps they have to encourage Black girls to become interested in coding-something other than the liberal arts subjects that high percentages of women, in general, elect to study in college. Even though I chose a science major in college I just wish I had teachers that exposed me to more than the introductory Computer Science courses in my younger years. After all some of the best inventors and scholars in the world have been women, so why stifle the young women of today and hold them back from what could be a great future. All students should have equal opportunities to succeed and be great!