What's Happening

Check out what our people and partners are researching, thinking, reading, writing, watching and doing! (Note: The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ETR as an agency.)


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”?

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD
Read More
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.

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD
Read More
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.

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD
Read More
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.

By Jill Denner, PhD
Read More
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? 

By Shannon Campe
Read More
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.

By Jill Denner, PhD
Read More
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.

By Jacob Martinez, MIST
Read More
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. 

By Eloy Ortiz, MURP, & Yethzéll Díaz
Read More
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. 

By Kieren Jameson, MLIS
Read More
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!

By David Yeung, MBA
Read More
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.

By Eloy Ortiz, MURP
Read More
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.

By Julie Adams
Read More
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.

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD
Read More
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.

Read More
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?

By Yethzell Diaz
Read More
Tags: Research, Technology, Social justice

Our e-newsletters bring you the best of our blog each month.

Social Media :

  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook