Rethinking My Interests, and Tackling STEM Equity

I tend to spend a fair amount of time thinking about how my identity as a heterosexual, cis white man, a Jewish person, and an adult impact my teaching. In my mind these are some of the biggest sources of bias in my teaching. But, as I was looking for information about people of color in the tech field, I realized there's another source of bias I might overlook, my interests.

This is probably obvious to most people, but I hadn't considered how my interests impact the topics I teach and the futures I consider for my students. For example, I love to write (surprising, I know). I believe deeply in the power of storytelling and writing. So, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to instill a passion for storytelling in my students.

While I enjoy the benefits of technology, I don't play video games and I don't follow technology news closely. Although I am very supportive of STEM education, especially for kids of color, I don't think I prioritize it in the same way I would if this were a personal passion.

That said, over the summer I took a workshop from Code.org and I am committed to teaching my kids basic coding by the end of this year. First of all, I know many of my kids will be excited about learning to code. On top of that, as with pretty much any aspect of education, it's an equity issue.

As a teacher, I can't do much to break down the tech industry's racist barriers, but I can do everything in my power to give my kids the skills they need if they get to the entry point. With that in mind, I'm hoping to procure 12 new chromebooks via Donorschoose projects here and here. With these chromebooks I'm hoping to launch a "coding club" that will jumpstart my kids' passion and abilities to change the nature of tech in the future. I know the brilliance is there in my classroom, I just have to help unleash the hidden Shuris and Geordis.


via GIPHY

I still have work to do to tackle my own biases - based on my identity and my own passions - but this project feels like a step in the right direction.

Comments

Yael said…
Check out scratch.mit.edu... great coding environment for kids, and meant for them to be able to teach themselves. If you want to sit down for a crash course one Sunday, I can teach you to do some neat things that will help you get the kids started. -Yael
Ruben Brosbe said…
Thanks Yael! That's so generous. I took a Code.org workshop so I think I have a starting point, but I'd definitely benefit from extra assistance. Let's make this happen after Pesach.

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