Finding the right resources to implement a STEM curriculum can be challenging. Many require specific equipment, access to certain websites, or come with a high cost which limits the opportunities necessary to prepare our students for the future. Why does STEM matter?
Because according to the World Economic Forum, technology will greatly impact education and the world of work over the next 10 years, as approximately 1 billion jobs will be transformed by technology. We will see tremendous growth in fields such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and data analytics, all of which require STEM skills. With an estimated 3.5 million jobs available by 2025 that require STEM skills, educators must provide opportunities for all students to engage in the right types of learning. While we recognize the need and importance for STEM, we need a solution to the barriers that may exist.
Finding a solution
Discovery Education has partnered with Mastercard to launch a new phase of Girls4Tech, an award-winning initiative with the goal of introducing five million girls to the excitement of STEM and STEM careers by 2025.
Why is there an increased focus on girls? In 2019, Mastercard commissioned a study to better understand gender and generational differences surrounding perceptions and attitudes of STEM-based topics and programs. The study explored some of the challenges and motivations cited by students related to pursuing college majors and careers. The results showed that women are in need of more opportunities, encouragement and mentors in STEM fields. Girls4Tech, Mastercard’s signature STEM curriculum, addresses this need by providing middle and high school girls with access to STEM resources and career exploration tools.
What Makes Girls4Tech Different?
In partnership with Discovery Education, Girls4Tech offers a robust array of no-cost, standards-aligned, and on-demand digital resources that help students understand how technology can be used to solve problems that they care about and have an interest in. Girls4Tech places an emphasis on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity, the two of the fastest-growing STEM fields impacting the world of work and education. Additional topics include AI for Social Good, Cryptology, and Fraud Detection, which provide activities and plans for students in grades 5 through 9 and 6 through 8.
Learning from real stories
Educators can confidently get started with the authentic, real-world resources available through Girls4Tech. Students start by exploring their career profiles. Each profile includes activities that help students learn more about the careers of female cybersecurity professionals. Students will see that fighting hackers and keeping sensitive information safe has a global impact.
Each of the career profiles includes a video interview and a student evaluation for students to compare their own interests to the required skills for the job. These career profiles spark curiosity and will inspire young girls to dream big about the impact they can make in the world.
Girls4Tech will impact girls on a global scale. With its expansion to Canada, it will help to fill the need for Francophone STEM content that will spark student interest for topics like AI and cybersecurity. Being able to hear directly from women working in these innovative fields and growing fields encourages exploration of career options and creates a more authentic and meaningful learning experience. These experiences will positively impact young women in their pursuit of essential STEM skills for their future.
Resources that are ready-to-use
Educators can support students by using the educator guides and accessing all of the resources on the Girls4Tech site. With the newest phase of the Discovery Ed and Mastercard partnership, there are digital lesson bundles that focus on the foundations and evolution of technology and binary code.
Beyond the career profiles and video series, Discovery Education will also host virtual and in-person events focused on the importance of creating opportunities for young women in STEM education, and ensuring that educators have the best resources for integrating STEM into the classroom.
Preparing our future leaders in STEM
We will best prepare our students by providing access to innovative resources that empower them to explore career options based on their specific interests and needs. We may not know exactly what types of jobs will exist, however, what we do know is that students will need a variety of skill sets to be prepared for whatever changes the future brings. Students will develop these skills through STEM experiences.
When we give students opportunities to engage in more student-driven, independent, hands-on learning, it attaches more meaning and authenticity to the work that they’re doing. It also gives students a chance to engage in something innovative and unique and helps them to build the types of skills that they will need.
With Girls4Tech, we can better inform students and spark curiosity for learning which leads our students to become the creators and innovators of the future.
In Collaboration with DiscoveryEd
About the Author
Rachelle Dené Poth is a Foreign Language and STEAM Educator at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. She is also an Attorney, Edtech Consultant and Speaker and the Author of seven books about education and edtech. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @Rdene915.
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