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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: Technology Alliance

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November 30, 2014 at 11:00 PM

Guest: Why diversity matters in tech and engineering

Susannah Malarkey

Susannah Malarkey

Diversity in our technology and engineering workforce is a hot topic, and with good reason. Washington has the highest concentration of science, tech, engineering and math (STEM)-related jobs in the country, but the lack of women and people of color in this sector is glaringly obvious.

It isn’t enough to simply complain. We must tackle the root causes of this issue, not only for the good of individuals who will find livelihoods in this sector, but for our innovation-based industries as well.

Pursuing a career in STEM is a smart move for many students. These professions offer above-average pay and a range of fulfilling job opportunities. So why isn’t there more diversity? According to a study by the U.S. Census Department last year, African Americans hold only 6 percent of the jobs in these fields, and Hispanics only 7 percent — numbers far below their representation in the overall workforce. Women hold only 26 percent of these jobs.

In order to grow our technical workforce, the talent pool from which STEM companies find their employees must grow much more diverse. As someone who works with leaders in the tech industry, I can report that CEOs believe that diversifying their workforces is not only the right thing to do, it is also seen as a business imperative.

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Comments | More in Guest opinion, Opinion, Your voices | Topics: higher ed, STEM, Technology Alliance

June 5, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Need help in an emergency? Students have an app for that

youthapps

Screen shot of student-designed app called My Homework

Need help in an emergency? Want an easy way to keep track of homework assignments or turn a cell phone into a hearing aid?

Thanks to a students from Timbercrest Junior High in Woodinville, Tesla STEM High in Redmond, and Lakeside Middle in Seattle, there are — or soon may be — mobile or computer applications to help.

Those teams are among 11 from Western Washington that won prizes Wednesday in the state’s first Youth Apps Challenge.

The hearing enhancement app is already available for sale at the Apple App store, said Karen Manuel of the Technology Alliance, the contest’s organizer. Seattle Public Schools intends to use another of the award-winners, she said, an app for student government elections, designed by students at Garfield High.

The emergency app, developed by ninth-graders at Timbercrest Junior High, isn’t available yet, but students are working toward that, said their teacher, Josh Caldwell. How it works: When you open their app on your cell phone, a big red button appears. If you push it, it sends a text “help” message with your coordinates to a predetermined set of phone numbers.

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Comments | More in Math and science, News | Topics: STEM, Technology Alliance, Youth Apps Challenge

April 9, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Like to code or want to learn? Events offer help for students

Attention high-school and middle-school students who like to code or want to learn how: Two upcoming events are designed for you.

For coding-newbies as well as those with some experience: On Friday, May 23, Rainier Beach High will host an all-day app session where students can learn how to create applications and games on cell phones, iPads, laptops — whatever devices they bring. Workshops and assistance will be provided by Rainier Beach teachers, University of Washington computer science students and engineers from the UW and Microsoft.

Even students who have never programmed before can end up with an app at the end of the day, and many did so last year. Geekwire called last year’s event a “geeky field trip that helped expose kids to the world of computer programming.”

The event also will feature a DJ, dance competition and raffle giveaways. At the end of the day, participants will be invited to show off their new apps.

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Comments | More in Math and science, News | Topics: coding, computer programming, Puget Sound App Day