Pop Mom: What Moms Should Know About Getting Girls Involved In Technology
Ever had one of those moments when you realize exactly how much you don’t know about a topic? This happened to me the other day when a friend shared a post she’d written entitled ‘What 29,000 Girls Taught Me About Tech.’ I was shocked by the high number of girls involved in technology; and to be more honest, surprised that girls are learning tech. Not because they’re girls, but because I associated it with something that people learn in college. Perhaps it’s a world that I’m not privy to because my daughters are just four and six-years-old, but reading this article definitely opened my eyes and got me wondering at what age I should consider getting them involved? In this ever-changing society we live in no one wants to be the last one on the boat.
So to bring me up to speed, I decide to call Keesa Schreane, tech speaker, blogger, analytic marketer, friend and author of the above-mentioned article. Here’s what she shared. Consider it a mom’s guide to girls in tech or “Girls in Tech for Mummies.”
Mommynoire: What’s your experience with girls in the tech world?
Keesa Schreane: My primary volunteer work is with Black Girls Code and the Girl Scouts who are focused on Science Technology Engineering in Math (STEM) in their day-to-day curriculum in school. I feel like children should have strategies to understand the different careers, so I’m helping these girls to understand the options that are out there. I’ve been doing it for 5 years.
What should a mom know about STEM?
I would recommend doing your research in a particular city. Kimberly Bryant is the founder of Black Girls Code and she started this organization to make the world a better place for her daughter who was interested in the STEM area. There are also other organizations like Girls Who Code, Coder Dojo, which I’m learning more about, and the Girl Scouts.
What are the girls learning?
At one of the Girls Who Code events I went to over the summer the girls were learning how to build a video game. It was a full day event. We had the right materials, the right teachers with coding backgrounds, as well as volunteers who didn’t code, but are there for moral support. The girls may not build the biggest, best game in one day, but they have the foundation of how to build and even better than that they have exposure. They also learn teamwork.
What else can they learn?
There are different coding classes that are taught in high school and college. For example, Python coding, you can even learn online. What we do is help girls understand what a career looks like in a STEM field. Here’s a woman who has a PhD who chose the scientific field for her career, what is her day-to-day like at a company or as an entrepreneur? Learning coding is great, but the true value is exposing them to women who have chosen careers so they can determine if they like it for themselves.
At what age should we start exposing our kids to the tech field?
Children like playing with iphones, naturally, so they kind of expose themselves. If they’re playing with your phone, play some games. See what they find interesting.
Some moms are anti-game because of the addiction factor. How do we know which games are good for our kids?
I’d reach out to organizations like the Girl Scouts or Black Girls Code to see what steps they’d recommend you take given your child’s age. They’re experts in the field.