The article references several products on the market aimed at girls 4-10, from GoldieBlox to Lego’s own Lego Friends line. While the ultimate goal for some of these companies is to, of course, turn a profit, there is significant interest in getting little girls to love tech and learn a bit about basic engineering.
- while spatial differences exist between boys and girls at younger ages, these differences can be overcome by practicing and using spatial skills which are improved by building toys
- research cited in the article shows that preschoolers who can arrange blocks into sophisticated towers will grow into teenagers likely to perform better on standardized tests
- despite the large amount of pastels, the goal isn’t to just “shrink and pink” boys toys
Watch this TED video from AnnMarie Thomas, a School of Engineering professor at the University of St. Thomas. Using two different kinds of play dough, she demonstrates basic electrical circuits in a format suitable for tiny hands to explore.
Yesterday marked the first day of the 2011 World Science Festival. This week, as part of its 4th annual celebration, “the most anticipated annual science event in the world takes over New York City,” and “will celebrate women in science – both past and present – with special and unique programs and a plethora of women featured throughout the event who are pioneers in their fields.” Festival co-creator Tracy Day hopes to highlight breakthrough research that a few of the scientists in attendance are currently working on, and to honor pioneering women in science in an effort to promote science and math education to young girls.
Other festival presenters and moderators include (all quotes directly from the WSF site):
Faith Salie – a contributor to CBS News Sunday Morning and a panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. “The only Rhodes scholar who performs stand-up comedy, Faith earned her sci-fi cred getting beamed up as the genetically-engineered savant Sarina Douglas on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and will forever be immortalized on a DS9 trading card.”
Heather Knight – an electrical engineer and social roboticist who runs Marilyn Monrobot in New York, co-founder of the world’s first Robot Film Festival.
Joy Hirsch – a neuroscientist whose “ground-breaking studies of language, emotion, attention, and cognition are internationally known for advances in our understanding of how separate neural systems interact during these functions.”
Priyamvada Natarajan – a cosmologist and theoretical astrophysicist professor at Yale University whose research focuses on “exotica in the Universe — dark matter, dark energy and black holes.”
Corina Tarnita – a mathematical biologist with a PhD in Mathematics from Harvard who “applies her knowledge of mathematics to study evolution and evolutionary dynamics” focusing on “understanding how population structure affects the outcome of evolutionary processes”.
Elena Aprile – an experimental astrophysicist and professor of physics at Columbia University who is “internationally recognized for her experimental work with noble liquid detectors for research in gamma-ray astrophysics and particle astrophysics.”
I’ll admit I’m late to the party on this one, but in case you missed it as well, here’s the latest on electronics geek Limor Fried.
Fried was recently featured in Wired magazine (April 2011, with an awesome cover photo). For geeky folks who make stuff – or aspire to make stuff – Fried is a superstar. With an engineering masters from MIT, a gadget and gizmo site that is both newbie-friendly and expert-useful, and a web series of engineering videos that is both nerdy and informative, Fried is a stellar example of doing what you love, sticking to your principles and making money doing the geeky stuff that you were going to do anyway. Mind you, all of that is in addition to driving the open hardware movement forward by leaps and bounds – even if she’s just throwing bounties to incite innovation.
Fried has been featured a few times here on dotFiveOne and at least one other time in Wired. The cool thing about this latest article (besides the cover photo) is that its the lynchpin of the DIY issue, which includes over 21 suggested projects. This is great hacker fodder if you don’t already have a project list a mile long.
One of the best points of the interview, IMHO, is when Fried answers the oft-asked question, “what comes next?” with a well-placed, polite “we have no idea”. As was true with the personal computer revolution, we can only imagine how open hardware development will change the world.
Been a long while since I gave anything away, so I – along with my trusty d20 – have remedied that post-haste. Congratulations to Jessica S., who won the following swag in no particular order of importance:
A WordCamp 2010 T-Shirt
An Ubuntu 10.10 CD (both 32-bit and Live CD versions)
A Sony Digital Field Guide
A Star Trek Online Guest Pass
A WordPress Visual Quickstart Guide
The Special Collector’s 200th Issue of Linux Journal
Geeky stuff for a geeky reader. Way to go, Jessica, and thanks for reading dotFiveOne!
Since dotFiveOne’s launch in 2008, I’ve posted quite a few (more than a lot, less than hundreds) tidbits about geeky women and their doings. The following women were featured at some point and they’re still working like mad, so here are a couple of “what are they doing now” updates.
When last I spoke of Belmont on dotFiveOne, I introduced you to the exceptional geekiness that is the Sword and Laser. S&L continues to enchant and entertain – be sure to check out the latest episode of the podcast at http://www.swordandlaser.com/. If you’re a big PlayStation gamer, you’ve no doubt already heard of Qore, but for those like me happily twitching about in Wii-Land, it’s still news. Belmont hosts Qore and continues to co-helm Tekzilla on Revision3. Seems to me that if there’s a geek angle to be had on anything, Belmont knows what and where it is. (And over 1.6 million folks on Twitter want to know what she knows.) Be sure to check her sites for updates.
The mighty Molly Dilworth was featured recently on dotFiveOne because of her beyond-cool-and-viewable-from-satellite rooftop paintings in New York City. Since then, her design for several blocks – 50,000 square feet – of Times Square adjacent walkway was accepted and painted. I made the trip to Times Square to see it in person, and the painting completely changes the vibe of that space; what was once both nostalgic and seedy is almost avant garde when combined with the overwhelming technical assault of six storey digital displays.
Visit Dilworth’s site for more news of past and future works, and if moved enough to purchase a piece, check out these amazing prints.