Community, GHC15

GHC15: Thursday Keynote

Hadi Partovi, CEO and Cofounder at code.org.

Hadi immigrated here after the Islamic Revolution in Iran. He learned to code on a Commodore 64, a gift from his dad.  But now he’s looking at kids in high school in the US that do not have access to computers to program.  Computer Science should be taught in high school. Education is starting to increase, after 10 years of decline.

Nine out of ten parents want their children to study CS, but only 1 out 4 schools even teaches CS. They are finding that if girls are not exposed to CS in high school, they won’t even consider it as a degree.

It makes no sense these days that schools are not teaching children the basics of how an algorithm works or how the Internet works.

In the last 2 years, they’ve had 300 organiations join to help solve this problem Over 70 school districts have embraced CS including NYC, LA, Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas, Houston and SF.

85% of the 15,000 newly trained CS teachers are female.

How do you break a stereo type without changing the facts on the ground.  We try to break it down in he classrooms where it’s already a 50/50 split – so that they never see it as male or female.

We got to watch a cool video on the Hour of Code – it’s fun watching kids get so excited about coding! In the last hour of code, the participants were 48% female.

In that hour, students learn the basics with drag and drop programming and teachers learn that they can teach other subjects by leveraging programming.

Please help! They have over 10,000 teachers looking for help to run their hour of code. Go to code.org/help for more information.

Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube

Susan was Google’s first landlord, and their 16th employee.

There are 10000 Googlers and Youtubers at this event! Wow – 1/12th of the attendees!!!

At 10 years old, Susan’s daughter announced that she hated computers. What??!?  Her daughter had been coming around Google since she was a baby!  Why?  They had one computer in their house, and, in her daughter’s words, her son had “conquered the computer”.  She thought liking computers is lame.  Computers are antisocial and insular.

Susan was visibly upset by this, since she fights so hard to get more women involved in computer science.

Computers are everywhere – IBM’s Watson is diagnosing cancer more accurately than oncologists, farmers are using satellite and weather models to plan crops.

Yet, only 26% of technologies are women. It’s a pipeline and retention problem.

Female participation of women in CS was higher in the US.  Other sciences are seeing more women. The decline of women in science is specific to CS.

Maria Klawe says about women in tech: 1) they think it’s boring 2) they think they wouldn’t be any good at it 3) they wouldn’t want to be caught dead with the people that think it’s cool

Susan checked with her daughter, who agreed with those misconceptions.  What is driving this? how do we fix it?

Computer Science is boring? Obvious that is not true! How would anyone know if they haven’t tried it?  It can indeed be boring to *watch* people do computer science, but that’s different than doing it.

The perception that women wouldn’t be good at it? That makes Susan mad. Of course they would be! Some of the greatest programmers were women!  Most women haven’t even tried it, so it becomes easy to internalize these misconceptions.

Susan learned  from her years in tech: Men have no special skills that enable them to run technology companies!

When she goes to computer camps to pick up her kids – she sees the same things she sees in her office. In groups of 7 year olds, there are hardly any girls. If we don’t fix this now, it will not get better. We need to make computer science mandatory in school.

School budgets are tight, but it’s required to be successful in the future. If we don’t make it a priority, we will make gender and ethnic inequality worse and risk our nation’s future competitiveness.

We mandate math, biology, chemistry and physics.  Those are great – but we need more.

Other countries already mandate computer science.

And that last misconception – about not wanting to be caught dead with a computer geek?  We need those girls to come to GHC and meet these exciting women technologists.

People love to blame the media on persisting stereo types, but Susan can’t just point her finger at “the media” – as she’s running a media company!

How can Youtube improve this situation?

We got to see a teaser for a new film called “Code Girl” – neat!

Post by Valerie Fenwick, syndicated from Security, Beer, Theater and Biking!