Words matter – gender bias in makerspaces

Contributor: Sylvia Martinez

In a new study from Drexel University, researchers found that makerspace facilitators betray gender bias when talking about their students. Instructors primarily referred to male students as “geeks”, “builders” and “designers” (never “boys”), but most frequently referred to female students as “girls” or even, “helpers”. Never. They NEVER referred to the male students as boys. Why? It’s an easy slip to make, reflecting the norm that “boys” are the expected gender, the way things are supposed to be, and girls have to be …Read more here. 

Article features FETC Speaker:

Sylvia Martinez is co-author of Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering the Classroom helping teachers bring the exciting tools and technology of the modern world to classrooms. She advocates for student-centered project-based learning with an emphasis on STEAM for all.

Sylvia is principal advisor to the Stanford University FabLearn Fellows, a group of global educators researching and developing hands-on, minds-on projects and curriculum. She also ran educational non-profits and headed product development for consumer software, video games, and educational games at several software publishing companies.

Martinez started her career designing high frequency receiver systems and software for GPS navigational satellites. She holds a masters in educational technology and a bachelor’s in electrical engineering.

FETC Presentations:

C042 | Disruptive Lenses for School Leaders: Making, Agile Development, Design Thinking

$W241 | Making in the Classroom: Prompts and Assessment for Maker PBL Lessons

C023 | The STEAM-Powered Classroom: Making, Design, and Creativity

C355 | STEAM to the Future: The 4th Industrial Revolution is Coming