3Doodler Bridges Gender Gap in STEM

EDU

“The lessons girls learn in our classroom will develop them into critical thinkers, innovators, risk-takers, collaborators, and leaders.” — Julie Dweck, K-5 Educator.

A recent Microsoft study indicated that a girl’s level of interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) rises steadily until age 11, and then declines, most markedly by age 15. I refer to these as the “wonder” years, because I wonder why more people haven’t noticed it or done something about it!

One of the best tools in my teaching arsenal is the 3Doodler Start. I’d like to “draw” upon my own success with the 3Doodler and share why it’s an important tool for all of your students, but especially your young girls. The 3Doodler is a way to inspire and engage our girls in STEM at an early age, while cultivating a platform that will sustain their interest throughout higher education and life. Learning with a 3Doodler nurtures creative thinking, as students design original works or repurpose information and ideas into new creations. It is an artistic form of expression that appeals to girls, while developing their voice not only within the design community, but in our world at large. Being a flexible, fluent thinker is a valuable commodity in any field or endeavor they may pursue.

Through using 3Doodler pens in the classroom, students practice “design thinking,” a process of iteration that entails asking questions, brainstorming, planning, testing and retesting. This logical thought process is effective and visually concrete with 3Doodler pens. A larger design problem is broken down into smaller, more manageable sub-problems.

In our classroom, you will see girls designing plans, sketching models, drawing flowcharts, building, and playing with ideas not only in their minds, but with their hands. They make predictions. They make inferences. They make repairs. They cultivate strong visual-spatial abilities because their thought processes are being enacted right before their eyes. And all of this happens as they are “playing.” As girls enter adolescence with its rapid changes and choices, the dramatic effects of a strong thought process are witnessed by an improved ability to make important decisions, ones that may alter life outcomes.

With 3Doodler pens, girls get practice in solving problems, making mathematic calculations and taking risks within open-ended challenges that allow for more than one solution. They cultivate a tolerance for ambiguity and build perseverance. They develop what my grandfather used to refer to as “true grit,” a kind of spunk and resilient nature best cultivated through experience with failure. Psychologist, Carol Dweck, coined the term “growth-mindset” as the ability to reframe failure as an opportunity for learning. With the constant barrage of perfection displayed by the media, our girls are in danger of becoming complacent rather than risk making mistakes. 3Doodler pens draw new pathways that embolden girls to dare, to try again, to go out on a ledge, knowing that the only true risk they face are the lessons lost by quitting.

Artful creation, such as with 3Doodler pens, does not demand perfection. It celebrates inspiration born through determination. It makes us smile, even as we’re trying again and again.

And somewhere along the line, they begin to realize that they can solve most of life’s problems if they can see the “shapes” and “patterns” within it, which take the form of problems, ideas and choices. 3Doodler pens nurture the ability to problem-solve through analyzing, synthesizing and transferring knowledge to abstract learning. 3Doodler pens are a valuable tool for all students, but for our girls, it is the shape of things to come.

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Julia Dweck is a public school teacher who works with students in grades K-5, focusing on the importance of creative and open-ended thinking. Julia is the 2016 winner of the Da Vinci Science Award for her innovative integration of technology in the classroom.

She serves as a school resource and exemplar for inventive implementation of the arts and sciences. Julia encourages her students, friends, and peers to take risks, whenever possible, in order to grow. Follow her on Twitter @GiftedTawk

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