What's Happening

Check out what our people and partners are researching, thinking, reading, writing, watching and doing!

(Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ETR as an agency.)

What Students Say: Taking Community College Pathways to Computer Science Degrees
December 1, 2016
What Students Say: Taking Community College Pathways to Computer Science Degrees

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD | December 1, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR

Why isn’t the tech field more diverse? And what can we do to change that?

One of the challenges is the so-called “pipeline” issue. We don’t have enough women and underrepresented minority students pursuing, and then completing, computer science degrees. That means we don’t have enough trained and skilled professionals to do all of the work that needs doing.

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Tags: Diversity in technology, Computer science education, Community college, Underrepresented populations
Preparing Students for Information Technology Careers: The Role of Career Technical Education
November 28, 2016
Preparing Students for Information Technology Careers: The Role of Career Technical Education

By Jill Denner, PhD | November 28, 2016
Senior Research Scientist, ETR

Vocational education is making a comeback! Nationally, we are seeing new attention being brought to career-technical education (CTE). Revitalized efforts are seeking to provide students the mix of technical training and academics that will prepare them for real-world, 21st century careers. We expect this trend to continue.

Computer science skills—including the ability to code—play a role in a number of the established CTE pathways

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Tags: Diversity in technology, Technology education, K-12, Community college, Tech industry
In Search of Quality Computer Science Education for All: A New Framework Can Help
October 17, 2016
In Search of Quality Computer Science Education for All: A New Framework Can Help

By Jill Denner, PhD | October 17, 2016
Senior Research Scientist, ETR

Computer science for all? If you’ve been reading the headlines, you have seen the explosion of articles. Proponents argue we must offer computer science (CS) education to all students, in a combination of school and afterschool programs. At first glance, making CS available to all sounds like a great idea. But there have been concerns about what this looks like in practice.

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Tags: Diversity in technology, Computer science education, Computer science for all, Education standards
Building Math Confidence: It Takes Math to Make a STEM Career
October 4, 2016
Building Math Confidence: It Takes Math to Make a STEM Career

By Eloy Ortiz, MURP | October 4, 2016
Research Associate, ETR

Our nation has a vital interest in building a better pipeline to careers in STEM. However, females, Blacks and Latinos are substantially underrepresented in tech professions. ETR has had a longstanding commitment to exploring ways to boost the presence of women and underrepresented minorities in the tech world. A number of our research projects explore strategies to support a more diverse presence in the field.

Our Math Pathways project seeks to provide some pieces in the puzzle of identifying the factors that will help Latino students succeed in math. We know it’s important to build and sustain math confidence early in children’s education. Most students who decide to focus on STEM studies make that choice during high school, and increasingly, STEM competence is seen as a necessary emphasis for all students, from pre-K through grade 12.

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Tags: Research, Diversity in technology, Math confidence, Math Pathways, Family influence
Extra Innings: Using a Video Game and Baseball to Teach Science and Math
September 15, 2016
Extra Innings: Using a Video Game and Baseball to Teach Science and Math

By Erica Marsh | September 15, 2016
Project Coordinator, ETR

Extra Innings is a new project which will be building a mobile video game to teach math and science. It’s a collaboration between ETR, dfusion and Science of Sport.

What’s new and different about it? We’re using a curriculum called Science of Baseball as the foundation, and we’ll be doing a formal evaluation of its efficacy.

The existing Science of Baseball curriculum represents a collaboration between Science of Sport, Major League Baseball, and several MLB franchises, including the Arizona Diamondbacks. It empowers students to improve academic performance and confidence in science and math through experiential learning of baseball concepts.

So let’s play ball! We hope to show that curve balls and strike zones blend very nicely with geometry, biomechanics, data visualization, aerodynamics and other STEM topics.

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Tags: Research, STEM, STEM education, Baseball, Mobile apps
Increasing Diversity in STEM: Free Tip Sheets Can Boost Your Success
August 17, 2016
Increasing Diversity in STEM: Free Tip Sheets Can Boost Your Success

By ETR | August 17, 2016

One of ETR’s areas of focus is Diversity in IT. Our team is nationally known for its work in research, evaluation and promoting strategies to increase diversity in STEM fields. They’ve done original research, developed and tested programs and learning approaches, and built partnerships that boost pathways from school to college to the workforce.

The team has also developed three tip sheets that can help boost the efficacy of school- and community-based programs with youth. See them all on this page, or go to the individual pages below.

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Tags: Diversity in technology, STEM, Technology education, K-12
Pair Programming: 10 Cool Tips to Make It Work in Your Classrooms
August 2, 2016
Pair Programming: 10 Cool Tips to Make It Work in Your Classrooms

By Shannon Campe | August 2, 2016
Research Associate, ETR

Fifteen years ago, ETR started working with middle school girls to help them build computer programming skills and confidence. This was Girls Creating Games, a project where girls designed and programmed their own games. It was one of the earliest projects in our Diversity in IT group.

In the world of technology professions, females, Blacks and Latinos continue to be substantially underrepresented. Through partnerships, consulting and research projects like Girls Creating Games and The Girl Game Company, we have designed and supported efforts to increase diversity in STEM fields. (Find out more about the research we’ve done, and a list of our group’s publications, here.)

One of the strategies we’ve frequently used and studied is pair programming. We’ve developed some classroom tips that can make pair programming more effective.

Find out about our free tip sheets on increasing diversity in STEM education here.
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Tags: Research, Pair programming, Computer science education, Diversity in technology
Reprise: Social Justice, Technology and Meaning
May 5, 2016
Reprise: Social Justice, Technology and Meaning

By Yethzell Diaz | May 5, 2016 (first published April 17, 2014)
Education Manager, Digital Nest

Editor's note: In 2014, when Yethzell Diaz was a Research Assistant here at ETR, she wrote this column about technology and social justice. Recently, she accepted a position at Digital Nest. This seemed a perfect moment to re-post one of our favorite contributions to the ETR Blog. Thanks, Yethzell, for all the fine work you did for ETR, and best of luck over at the Nest! 

First, let me be clear about something. I am not a techie. At all. The first time I interacted with a computer was probably in seventh grade. Technology stuff was completely foreign to me. My family and friends didn’t know about it. And there wasn’t someone we could turn to for guidance.

I did, however, become a student at University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), majoring in sociology, and at one point I desperately needed to get into a popular class. A hundred students were competing for ten open spots. How was I going to swing it?

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Tags: Diversity in technology, Research, Technology, Social justice
Diversity in Computer Science? We Need to Look at Institutional Barriers to Getting a Degree
April 19, 2016
Diversity in Computer Science? We Need to Look at Institutional Barriers to Getting a Degree

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD | April 19, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR

Getting a degree in computer science can be tough. In the name of “rigor,” computer science and related fields have established a structured hierarchy of course prerequisites. These need to be taken in a specific sequence. Often, however, the necessary classes aren’t offered every term. This situation forces college students to plan their schedules carefully or risk being delayed in their education.

I have sat in on many faculty meetings watching heated debates about how much math, science and computer science should be required of college graduates claiming a computer science major. But what are the implications of these decisions for who persists in computer science? And how much of this is truly necessary to prepare students for the current workplace versus simply keeping things the way they have always been?

Or, as I have been asking lately, is this about maintaining “rigor,” or just keeping out the “riff raff”?

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Tags: Diversity in technology, STEM, Computer science education
Women Are Teaching Themselves Coding—And What Does the Research Say About That?
March 22, 2016
Women Are Teaching Themselves Coding—And What Does the Research Say About That?

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD | March 22, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR

My research here at ETR looks at how women are learning computer science skills. I’ve written previously about some of the challenges facing women studying computer science in colleges or pursuing learning through coding boot camps. I find it exciting and intriguing that women in the workforce are now teaching themselves to write computer code. They’re creating their own female-only groups to help themselves learn.

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Tags: Technology education, STEM, Diversity in technology
Women & STEM: College Vs. Coding Boot Camps
January 28, 2016
Women & STEM: College Vs. Coding Boot Camps

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD | January 28, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR

All my family, friends and colleagues know I’m a researcher interested in diversifying STEM. This means that I’m constantly receiving articles from them about all kinds of efforts being made to entice more girls/women and minorities to study or work in STEM fields—computer science in particular, as that has been my focus.

I have fortuitously entered the research world at a time when great attention is being paid to the subject that happens to be my area of research interest. Indeed, many of the articles sent to me address the dismal lack of diversity in computer science fields. Or they point out the ever-growing demand for more skilled software coders. Or they emphasize the fact that improving the first helps the second.

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Tags: STEM, Diversity in technology
Off to the White House: The MBK STEM+ Meeting
January 19, 2016
Off to the White House: The MBK STEM+ Meeting

By Jill Denner, PhD | January 19, 2016
Senior Research Scientist, ETR

On December 14, 2015, I had the privilege of attending a meeting on the grounds of the White House called MBK STEM+. The meeting was part of President Obama’s initiative called My Brother’s Keeper, which aims to mobilize education and career training resources for disadvantaged young people.

The focus of this particular meeting was to add STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to the MBK initiative, specifically creating opportunities for young people of color to pursue innovation and entrepreneurship in STEM fields. The goal was to build connections across organizations and individuals working in this space by identifying needs and resources.

The room was filled with about 80 people, many working at organizations actively involved in providing STEM preparation and training for young people across the country.

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Tags: Diversity in technology, STEM
Teachers! Your Next Big Role! “Research Collaborator”
November 19, 2015
Teachers! Your Next Big Role! “Research Collaborator”

By Shannon Campe | November 19, 2015
Research Associate, ETR

Are you a K–12 teacher? Or a school or district administrator? A teacher’s union rep? A classroom aide? An active member of your PTA? Do you have any say about what teachers do in their classrooms? If so, I’m hoping you’ll take a few minutes to read about the next big role you (or your teachers) can take to make a difference.

I’m an educational researcher and a teacher. I recruit and work with teachers for classroom-based and after-school programs that are part of research projects. If you are a teacher, I have something I really want you to do, at least once—collaborate in school-based research when the opportunity arises.

I know, yet another thing to do on top of everything else. Why should you take it on? 

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Tags: Teachers, Research, Collaboration
Evaluating Computer Science Education: Why and for Whom?
November 5, 2015
Evaluating Computer Science Education: Why and for Whom?

By Jill Denner, PhD | November 5, 2015
Senior Research Scientist, ETR

Note: ETR’s Jill Denner recently contributed a post to the American Evaluation Association’s blog AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators. This was part of their STEM Education and Training Topical Interest Group Week. With AEA’s permission, we are reposting Dr. Denner’s article. You can find the original here. If you’ll be attending AEA’s “Evaluation 2015” conference in Chicago next week, be sure to look for ETR’s team of researchers. Attending members include Pam Drake, Lisa Unti, BA Laris, Liz McDade-Montez and Jill Glassman.

Computer Science Education in K-12 is a relatively new space. It is a young discipline that is trying to distinguish itself from other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. And rightfully so. The “T” is different in many ways: There is less diversity in “T” classes and programs. Most programs do not have clear goals or a logic model to describe how their activities will lead to identified goals. There are many different learning outcomes, but few validated measures, established theories or clear stakeholders who can drive key decisions about evaluation design, sampling, and measurement.

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Tags: Research, Evaluation, Computer science education, STEM, Diversity in technology
Hopes, Dreams and STEM Education: The National Science Foundation Helps Us Make It Happen
September 30, 2015
Hopes, Dreams and STEM Education: The National Science Foundation Helps Us Make It Happen

By Jacob Martinez, MIST | September 30, 2015
Founder and Executive Director, Digital NEST

Here’s something that always strikes me about kids and teens. They all have dreams, hopes and wishes for the future. They also have some incredibly creative ideas about making this world better.

That’s true whether we’re talking about kids in our rural, low-income community in Watsonville, California, or the kids up in Silicon Valley, less than 45 minutes away, where some of the most privileged families live.

But there is one really important difference between these sets of young people. That difference is opportunity.

ETR and my organization, Digital NEST, have just been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation that’s going to allow us to learn more about how to create opportunity for underrepresented youth. We are thrilled about the ways this grant is going to advance our work and our mission.

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Tags: Technology education, Diversity in technology, Digital NEST, National Science Foundation
Best Practices: Keeping Latina Mothers Involved in Longitudinal Research
August 24, 2015
Best Practices: Keeping Latina Mothers Involved in Longitudinal Research

By Eloy Ortiz, MURP, & Yethzéll Díaz  | August 25, 2015
Research Associate & Research Assistant, ETR

Math Pathways is a longitudinal study that aims to understand how relationships influence Latino students’ mathematics beliefs and achievement during the critical transition from elementary to middle school. Our goal was to recruit and survey 300 mother-child pairs from a rural, predominantly Latino farming community at four different time points over 18 months. Over the process of designing, implementing and refining our recruitment and retention efforts, we have established best-practice standards that have contributed substantially to our retention success.

Gathering the data for this research study has involved three major efforts: recruitment, scheduling and data collection. Here, we highlight a few of the practices that have stood out during the implementation of the project. 

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Tags: Research, Retention, Math Pathways, STEM, Elementary school, Math
6 Opportunities to Increase Diversity in STEM-Related Fields
August 10, 2015
6 Opportunities to Increase Diversity in STEM-Related Fields

By Kieren Jameson, MLIS | August 10, 2015
Digital Solutions Manager, ETR

For most of my career, I've been a tech worker in nonprofits. I’ve worked mostly within majority-women workplaces. That means that I've seen more women in leadership and technology-related roles than is the norm in corporate America.

I think this is why, until the past few years, I’d completely missed the appalling lack of ethnic and gender diversity in STEM-related workplaces.

Once I opened my eyes and looked beyond my sheltered nonprofit world, the numbers were pretty clear. This is what they tell me: we have a serious diversity problem in tech. 

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Tags: STEM, Diversity in technology, Women, Technology education
Boosting STEM Education: Addressing a National Imperative
March 23, 2015
Boosting STEM Education: Addressing a National Imperative

By David Yeung, MBA | March 23, 2015
Manager of Strategy & Business Development, ETR

At ETR, we tackle challenges that are increasingly complex and interconnected, transcending traditionally defined boundaries. We are passionate about solving issues that are difficult and sometimes deep rooted. We want to discover solutions that have meaningful impact for individuals and communities.

In order for us to deliver on that mission, we must embrace different backgrounds, perspectives and disciplines. This is why I am proud to welcome to ETR a diverse and talented team of fulltime MBA students from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

They are going to help us discover solutions to some very complex issues!

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Tags: Ross MAP, Technology education
Stealth Recruitment: A New Way to Bring Diversity to the Tech Field
February 27, 2015
Stealth Recruitment: A New Way to Bring Diversity to the Tech Field

By Eloy Ortiz, MURP | February 27, 2015
Research Associate, ETR

Much of the funding that ETR’s Youth & IT Team has received over the past 10 years has focused on creating diversity in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and the STEM workforce. These grants have often focused on middle school. This is a critical time in a student’s education where we see that underrepresented students, such as girls and Latino/a youth, often lose interest in math and computer science classes.

Our team has researched different methods to expose underrepresented students to computing subjects and interest them in technology careers. We’ve created a number of after-school programs for middle schools using a range of strategies.

We’ve just started testing out a new strategy in high school settings which we call “Stealth Recruitment.” It’s quite different from anything we’ve done before.

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Tags: Research, Technology education, Underrepresented youth
Research Matters: A New Perspective on Old Stereotypes
February 12, 2015
Research Matters: A New Perspective on Old Stereotypes

By Julie Adams | February 12, 2015
Research Assistant, ETR

I’m a digital native—from the generation born after digital technologies became common—but also old enough to have seen just how much these technologies have changed. I’m also someone who is beginning a career in research on technology education. This intersection has given me a natural interest in understanding how people’s perception of technology changes over time. 

The majority of my work at ETR has been with the students in our Watsonville TEC Program. The students have given me insight into how their young generation feels about technology and computer science stereotypes. What I’ve learned from these young people doesn’t always match what I’ve found in published research, and I’m very intrigued by this discrepancy.

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Tags: Research, Teens, Technology education, Girls
My Take: Culture, Storylines & Women - Diversifying Tech Education
November 10, 2014
My Take: Culture, Storylines & Women - Diversifying Tech Education

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD | November 11, 2014

Everywhere we turn, articles warn of the imminent loss of U.S. preeminence in science, technology, engineering and math fields. How frustrating, then, that computer science has actually experienced a slow decrease in the percentage of female undergraduates over the past 20 years. This trend cannot serve the field, the nation or our future. We need to diversify tech education if we wish to take advantage of our abundant local talent.

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Tags: College, Women, Technology, STEM
Tracking Latino Attitudes & Behavior: Math Pathways Steps Up to the Challenge
August 15, 2014
Tracking Latino Attitudes & Behavior: Math Pathways Steps Up to the Challenge

By Eloy Ortiz, MURP | August 15, 2014
Research Associate, ETR

ETR’s Science Department has conducted many longitudinal studies, on topics ranging from health behaviors to computer science interests. We’ve usually surveyed students in class or online, and often our biggest challenge is just getting a consent form signed and returned by the parents. Once we have consent, we work with the students, gather and analyze data, and write up the results.

The Math Pathways project is different because it involves gathering detailed information from mothers and students, as well as teachers. The goal of the study is to gather information that can be used to increase mathematics achievement among Latino students. We needed to meet individually with both the mother and the student outside of class. This created some challenges that helped us learn a lot more about the lives of these students and their families.

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Tags: STEM, Diversity in technology, Technology education, Families, Elementary school
Thinking Research: Social Justice, Technology and Meaning
April 17, 2014
Thinking Research: Social Justice, Technology and Meaning

By Yethzell Diaz | April 17, 2014

First, let me be clear about something. I am not a techie. At all. The first time I interacted with a computer was probably in seventh grade. Technology stuff was completely foreign to me. My family and friends didn’t know about it. And there wasn’t someone we could turn to for guidance.

I did, however, become a student at University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), majoring in sociology, and at one point I desperately needed to get into a popular class. A hundred students were competing for ten open spots. How was I going to swing it?

Read More
Tags: Research, Technology, Social justice

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