Archive for January, 2013

As A Woman Who Loves Science, I Approve This Message

Just a quick note to share with you this little video developed in France to interest more girls in STEM (the video is in English). Its message is one I’ve worked hard to get across: More women in STEM fields means more products and services that take women into account! When women aren’t represented on design teams and research groups we end up with crash test dummies based on the male body and prescription pills that haven’t been properly tested on women. It’s crucial that women work in STEM, so that STEM fields remember to take women into account. We need more videos like this one in the US! Who is up to the challenging of making one?

STEM Students Must be Taught to Fail

Plan A B

In November, US News and World Report ran a story entitled, “STEM Students Must Be Taught to Fail: Failure will teach students to take the risks necessary for innovation.” I took note because in my WomenTech Educators retention training, I teach STEM educators to teach their students to fail and I go into some detail on how to accomplish this. Learning how to fail is especially important for female students, who have often been culturally conditioned to be perfectionists. Ironically, their desire to get the “right” answer the first time can impede their ability to experiment, fail, try again, and eventually come up with the real right answer. Successful STEM students must learn to try a solution, get it wrong, and try again because this is a fundamental element of the science and technology experimentation process they must master to be successful in their STEM courses and career. According to the US News and World Report story, this unwillingness to take a risk and make a mistake is a problem that impacts both female and male students – and sometimes even their instructors. STEM educators, I’d love to hear from you if you teach your students how to fail: How do you do it? BTW, my next WomenTech Educators Training will be online and starts February 25, 2013. Don’t miss the early bird registration ending next week on January 11, 2013.