Curriculum

A technology curriculum that appeals to female interests improves retention of women and girls. Also see Learning Style for more articles that could be used to develop an effective and female-friendly curriculum.


When pre and post survey responses were compared, both girls and boys in grades 2-5 were significantly more likely to agree that they would enjoy being an engineer after completing an "Engineering is Elementary (EiE)" unit in their classroom. A significant number of 7,000 girls and boys also demonstrated a broadening of their understanding of technology after using EiE materials when compared to a control group.

Download the executive summary from the Boston Museum of Science website.

Source:

Cunningham, C. M., & Lachapelle, C. P. (2012). Research and Evaluation Results for the Engineering is Elementary Project: An Executive Summary of the First Eight Years. Boston, MA: Museum of Science. Retrieved from http://www.mos.org/eie/pdf/research/EiE_Executive_Summary_Jan2012.pdf

Five years after introducing three key recruitment and retention strategies, women now make up around 42% of Harvey Mudd College's computer science program. In this Google Tech Talk video, Christine Alvarado shares the three practices Harvey Mudd College implemented to increase the number of women in their CS program: 1) new curriculum for CS1, 2) scholarship trips for female freshman to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computer Science, and 3) hands-on research projects for female sophomore CS students.

Watch Christine Alvarado's Google Tech Talk video on YouTube.

Source:

Alvarado, C. (2011, March 8). Women in CS @ HMC: Three Promising Practices. Retrieved from Google TechTalk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HF_Gkxqf158&lr=1&uid=t84aUC9OG6di8kSdKzEHTQ

This article finds that women prefer engineering in a total context, including social and environmental issues as well as purely technical matters. Learn how to design a curriculum that fits with women's learning styles.

Source:

Armstrong, J. and G. Leder, "Engineering education: how to design a gender-inclusive curriculum," Proceedings of the International Congress of Engineering Deans and Industry Leaders, Melbourne, July 1995, pp. 292-297.

A study of more than 12,000 high school students calls for increasing the emphasis on hands-on instruction and lab work -- critically important for all science students, particularly girls.

Source:

Burkam, David, Valerie Lee, Becky Smerdon, "Gender and Science Learning Early in High School: Subject Matter and Laboratory Experiences," American Educational Research Journal, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Summer, 1997), 297-331. Copyright 1997 by the American Educational Research Association. Reproduced with permission of the publisher.

Increase the number of female students in technology classes by introducing projects that appeal to women. Find out how one school in Massachusetts changed their design activities from robotic arms and sumo cars to handicapped ramps for local buildings.

Source:

Gralinski, Thomas, and Janis P. Terpenny. "K-12 and University Collaboration: A Vehicle to Improve Curriculum and Female Enrollment in Engineering and Technology," Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition (2003), American Society for Engineering Education.

In a survey of Maui County High Schools, females were twice as likely as males to indicate that they didn't think they were good at science. Read about how the young women felt about making science relevant to their lives and learning about jobs in technology.

Source:

Maui Economic Development Board, "The Maui County High School Technology Survey", Jan. 2001. The Women in Technology Project is administered by the Maui Economic Development Board and funded in part by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Alice v2.0 is free educational software. Its inviting interface and support of storytelling makes computer programming easier to learn and more fun for girls and women.

Source:

"Alice v2.0, Learn to Program Interactive 3D Graphics," Carnegie Mellon University.

Answer the question on many women's minds: What does my academic work have to do with the real world? These activities put engineering in a larger context and keep students engaged.

Source:

Diefes-Dux, Heidi, Deborah Follman, P.K. Imbrie, Judith Zawojewski, Brenda Capobianco, Margret Hjalmarson, "Model Eliciting Activities: An In-class Approach to Improving Interest and Persistence of Women in Engineering," Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, 2004.

Collaborative learning and new laboratory courses were among successful strategies used to retain computer science undergrads. Learn about these and other interventions that kept women and African Americans in the Computer Science Department.

Source:

Williams, Aurelia T. and Sandra J. DeLoatch, "Retaining Women in First Year CS Courses," Grace Hopper Women in Computing Conference, 2006.