- Ali Partovi, co-founder of Code.org, addressed misconceptions of STEM and computer science.
- Dion Lim addressed the challenges of parenting in the Age of Technology.
- Local Kurt Fleischer spoke to work in the community around the Maker Movement, encouraging kids to explore, think and experiment.
- The last speaker of the night, Stephanie Griffin, was able to speak to the district’s work to address computer science education K-12.
Highlights from her presentation include the change in the number and gender ratio of students in the high school computer science classes. In 2012-13 the district level began a review of our technology curriculum standards. That year we had 66 students taking computer science classes at the high school and 14% of those students were female. This percentage is consistent with national trends, and also reflected in the 7th and 8th grade electives at the middle school.
We know that there will be many challenges in the future that will require computer science or at least foundational knowledge of computer science to address and only having 14% of our great female minds prepared to take on those issues with technological skills was something the district wanted to address. We established a goal of a 50/50 balance by 2017-18 with a focus on building computer science principles and breaking down misconceptions of computer science K-6. The district has done incredible work to address the issue. In 2014-15, 211 students are taking computer science classes- about one quarter of the high school enrollment! Of those, 32% are female.