In the past few months, several of the big tech companies released their data on diversity at their companies. The data revealed that many of them still skew white and male and that the more technical areas are even more white and male than the company as a whole, because departments like marketing and human resources have more women in them. CSTA has been active in countering racial and gender disparity in Computer Science. At the CSTA conference, there are regular sessions on attracting women to the field, on ways to structure assignments to be gender neutral and/or racially sensitive. One of the key ways to encourage people from a wide variety of backgrounds to pursue Computer Science is to showcase people of different backgrounds doing Computer Science. When students see that “kids like them” are studying Computer Science, they’re more likely to feel that the field is open to them.
Now you can be a part of showcasing students doing Computer Science through the Faces of Computing Video Contest, sponsored by CSTA. Your students can create a video featuring the ways they participate in computing. The format of the video can be anything: a commercial, a short film, a public service announcement. Let your students be creative! Like the poster contests from previous years, the videos will become part of the CSTA campaign to encourage young people to study Computer Science, no matter what their race, ethnicity, or gender. And your students can win prizes. We’ll be giving away robots, either Spheros, Hummingbirds, or Finches for each school level (Elementary, Middle, High School).*
So get to work! The deadline is November 20th, with winners announced during CS Ed Week. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with. There are so many different kinds of students out there doing so many different kinds of computing. Seeing what’s possible in computing and all the different people participating is a great way to celebrate the power of computing to touch lives around the world.
*Package worth 500.