Friday, February 27, 2015

Inspired by VentureLab in San Antonio

Here is post I just added to  my  Where the Girls Are series of posts from my TechSavvy Girls blog. 

As some of you know I love to be inspired by creative people and places.  Today's tour of VentureLab  was one of the highlights of our travels through San Antonio as part of our Living Learning Mobile Journey.   When I discovered VentureLab, one of the things that caught my attention right away was the 60% female participation statistic on the front page of their web site.

vwe're making a real difference

 724 students, 60% female participation,

Who are these people that are having such great results getting young women involved in high tech ventures?  I immediately started clicking around their website and discovered that not only are 60% of their student participants female,   but over 60% of their team are women -- SMART women!

And one of these women is their founder, Cristal Glangchai, PhD in BioMedical Engineering.   

Cristal is a scientist, professor,  entrepreneur , and mother of two girls who is passionate about teaching girls to become leaders in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Spend two minutes with Cristal in this short video and you'll see for yourself  how the lack of women in her university program, lack of women CEOs, lack of women investors, all fueled Cristal's desire to get  more women involved in the innovation landscape.  And one of the ways she is doing that is through VentureLab  ~ an innovation academy that focuses on hands on learning and teaching youth about entrepreneurship.

But  it's not just Cristal's passion for raising the number of females who play a role in shaping the world around us that is driving the success you see at VentureLab;  it is the passion of a whole team and their belief in a shared vision. 

Click on the WHO ARE WE Link and listen to children, parents, community members, and other stakeholders join Cristal (cofounder)  and Director of Programs, Nick Honegger. passionately describe the shared vision of VentureLab.    As Dirk Elemdorf cofounder of Rackspace,  describes "this whole industry has been dominated by dudes who look exactly like me~ young white dudes."   VentureLab is filled with a team of supporters who are passionate in making changes in an industry that currently "cuts off women and people of color".  They understands that

"diversity of view gives us diversity of solution by keeping people not otherwise exposed to this stuff in the game we get a better shot of having them actually take these roles that we need to fill our future"

The shared mission of the team of VentureLab came through loud and clear as Program Director Director of Programs, Nick Honegger, described what happens at Venture Lab during our tour of the space today.

Start YOUNG! 

VentureLab wants to start with kids as young as 5 years old!


Using our ESTEAM framework, we provide experiential learning in Entrepreneurship,Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics, teaching students the key mindsets of entrepreneurial thinking, design thinking, creativity, and we provide hands on instruction in technology.  [VentureLab Website]

Let's Utilize our FULL WORKFORCE! 
Getting more women to participate in the STEM fields and take on entrepreneurial roles is not just about achieving gender equality; our entire country will benefit from this progress and development. To realize our full competitive and technological leadership as a nation, young women must be encouraged to achieve their full potential and receive more representation within ESTEAM-related fields. We want to ensure that our full workforce is being utilized, and that is why we strive to achieve gender parity within all of our programs.  [VentureLab Website]

Thank you, Hetali Lodaya and Nick Honegger  for taking time out of your day to show us around VentureLab today and fill us with inspiration that the world is filled with creative people doing amazing things. 

Cross posted by Lucie at

Friday, February 20, 2015

Can you Make a Video in 5 minutes using Chrome or a Chromebook?

Had a great time working with with three other very Googley colleagues as we collaborated on a Vermont GEG (Google Educator Group) event using Google Hangout on Air:  Creating with Chrome: Videos in 5 minutes

+Elizabeth McCarthy +Kelly Wilson +Jennifer Roberge  and I each agreed to demo two ways to create a Video in 5 minutes using Chrome or a Chromebook.

Boy 5 minutes is NOT a lot of time and we 'mostly'  stayed within that time limit  and managed to demo  six +2 ways you can create a video.

  1. Create a Photo Slide Show with You Tube 
  2. Create a Video using YouTube Video Editor  
  3. Create a Collaborative Video using (Post to YouTube by Email)
  4. Create a Screencast Video with ScreenCastify
  5. Create a Video using Creative Commons and YouTube
  6. Create a Video using WeVideo

along with two 5-min demos that Jennifer Roberge created before she hopped on a plane to Disneyworld.
  1. Create a Video with MoveNote - Jenn Roberge - Video Clip - ready to play
  2. Create a Video with SnagIt - Jenn Roberge - Video Clip - ready to play
Do you have some fun ways to create videos with Chrome or Chromebook?  Share your tips or better yet your examples in the comments.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

Setting the stage for diversity in maker spaces and high tech learning environments

On Valentines Day I wrote a post on TechSavvy Girls blog featuring some fun geeky projects that could be used to engage girls in high tech (on Valentines Day and beyond).

Somehow that post got me thinking about other ways that I've found to engage diversity in in my high tech classes through the years and how the same strategies could be used to engage a diverse community of makers.

I think that one of the key strategies is understanding how important "the early stages" of a new maker community can be towards setting the stage for attracting a diverse maker community. Whether your diversity includes different genders, cultures, economic status, it is certainly the different abilities and the different ways of thinking and relating with the world that will generate the most innovative solutions to complex problems now and in our future.

So I thought today I'd share a small but key bit of learning that some of us discovered in our work on increasing nontraditional gender participation in Career and Technical Education. When setting up a new program in Career and Technical Education, it was very important to consider explicit strategies for engaging nontraditional gender participation in the initial stages of program development. Whether we were talking about the Metal Fabrication courses or the Health Careers program, If a program started off with a mix of male and females, then it had a much better chance of continuing to attract both males and females. A new program (or maker space) will tend to attract visitors who are curious about the new program. If visitors to the program see themselves in the picture, then word about your program will spread to more than 50% of the population.

But left to its own devices, the biases or stereotypes around us may primarily lead one gender to the program or space. Once that happens, it is harder to turn it around.

This may seem to be common sense, but the inclusion of explicit strategies to create a diverse community is sometimes an after thought that gets a back burner in the initial days of setting up a 'maker space' or a "learning space". There are always so many details to tend to.. but tend to this detail earlier and your return on investment will be much greater than if you come at it after the program or space is launched.