Tuesday, February 23, 2010

C'mon Girls!

I attended PETE&C 2010 this week in Hershey, PA. I learned, shared, collaborated, and enjoyed many thought-provoking discussions.

But what I am taking back as my biggest WOW moment is this: A colleague and I attended a concurrent session. We lingered after the session, finishing a task and discussing what we had learned, not noticing the next group coming in for the next session. But, as we got up to leave what I did notice is that the large room was now filled with just about guys - barely a girl in the room - not something I was used to seeing in the sessions I attend!! Jokingly, I said to my colleague, "This must be an IT-techy session coming next." Sure enough, as we looked at the display outside the room, it was some "network, safety, security, I-don't-get-it" session.

WOW! I teach second grade and I think gender equity is something that exists in our classrooms. I see a mix of abilities in all areas for both boys and girls, whether it is reading, math, technology. Our elementary school has many strong technology-savvy female teachers too. But, something isn't right when the "techy" room is filled with guys (sure there were some women in the room - maybe more came later - maybe they were still in line at the ladies room).

So what I am taking back is an eye on the girls. What are they talking about? What are they interested in? What are they doing in the computer lab that might look different from what the boys are doing? Are there differences? I don't know. But I am going to find out...


  1. I don't get concerned regardless of the make up of the room. I always look at each person as a unique and amazing creation.

  2. I kind of run the mailing list for some of the Philadelphia Archdiocese tech teachers and our ranks are overwhelmingly female, and oddly, over 50. -Scott

  3. What does it say that ninety something percent of us here are white anglo? I mean: we chose to come here, right? Do we represent the student populations (of course not).

  4. Maryann,

    A couple of comments. First, while I have met many excellent female technology directors, some that are very good friends, very few of them started as network admins or computer techs. The field of IT has only recently become a mixed gender role. While we can speculate on some of the common reasons, it just seems to work out that way. Hopefully that will continue to change.

    Second, the reverse comment probable could be made about the makeup of your elementary school faculty, unless Council rock is markedly different from most elem. schools.

    Third,upon that Wow moment why didn't you back back in and seen want the session was? By noticing and ignoring you missed an opportunity to have a different outlook as well as add your unique perspective to the presenters session.

    I try at conferences like PETE&C to open myself to at least on thing I wouldn't normally do if the opportunity presented itself in my normal job. I try to hop out of my "box" from time to time. Maybe we should encourage people to expand into something they have never heard of at PETE&C rather than speculate on session attendance buy gender.

    Hope to meet you next year!


  5. To be honest, it hadn't occurred to me that there would be any sessions that were male or female heavy. I never thought about it or noticed before. And I actually do, as Ty suggests, explore areas that are not something with which I am familiar. I also wasn't looking to find gender inequality nor do I necessarily think I found it. Our IT department, for example, is definitely a mix. Simply put, as we turned to leave the room and get to our next destination, it was just something quite noticeable, and upon thinking about it later on, made me wonder if there is a difference in male and female interest in the IT field - I don't know, just wondering. And I'm wondering if there's a difference in how young children approach technical issues that arise. I don't know but I do wonder.