PBL (Project-Based Learning)

Fabulous FabLab

Spent the weekend at the Stanford FabLab for their workshop on Digital Fabrication in Education. It was really fabulous to connect with so many educators from the Bay Area and beyond that are thinking about how to bring some of these tools and lessons into their STEM and PBL focused classrooms.

Surrounded by sophisticated tools like 3D printers/scanners, laser cutters and simulators, it was really amazing to hear from the student panel that some of their favorite tools to use were the hot glue guns and hammer/nails. This really speaks to the essence of building something cool and that you don’t need really expensive/shiny technology to create a fun, fabrication-focused environment. Any school can create their own design lab using simple tools (few pairs of scissors, card board, post-its and sharpies…) — It is more about developing a culture that embraces the project-based learning practices.

I really hope that SUSE will continue to create workshops and resources like this that are closely tied to classroom practice with real-world applications for K-12 teachers. It really was fab!

Learning to Code

Inspiring girls to code

Last night I attended a wonderful event supporting the Technovation Challenge, an inspiring program started by a friend of mine, Anu Tewary, to encourage high school girls to pursue STEM-related careers. This video captures the essence of the program and illustrates how participants learn about product development, design-thinking and programming through building Android Apps, such as World MPowered. The event, hosted at Andreessen Horowitz, centered around a panel of several high profile women in technology including Marissa Mayer, Padmasree Warrior, Freada Kapor Klein and Angela Benton. While the speakers were notable, what was even more impressive were the people in the standing-room-only crowd which included bright female entrepreneurs, like Leah Busque from Task Rabbit and Alexis Ringwald.

The main goal of the evening was to share inspiring stories of women in technology and to encourage the attendees to pay-it-forward by mentoring girls through the Technovation Challenge. Anyone can get involved by helping spread the word or signing up to be a mentor. The success of programs such as this, and others offered through Iridescent, is vital to building a diverse pipeline of women entrepreneurs and developers, and showing girls that it’s actually cool to be a geek.