Last weekend, I had a blast hanging out with a bunch of folks looking to combine their love for crafting and sewing with technology. In the photo, a member gives an interesting talk on Arduino basics. He holds the guts of his animatronic cat tail as an example project. Other members were working on a stuffed animal that giggles when you shake it but screams when dropped on the floor, crazy animated cat toys, blinky costumes, controller gloves made from conductive fabric, you name it. And the backgrounds represented there were equally diverse: sewing, programming, and electronics obviously, but also communications, acupuncture, education, music, architecture…love it! This is how tech should be.
I met some incredibly creative men and women throughout the afternoon. The conversation flowed seamlessly between topics ranging from what is missing in bicycle clothing for women to the best embedded platforms for garment based projects, to new approaches in science education that would attract more women and underrepresented groups to the discipline. So inspiring!
To top off a perfect day, towards the end of the event I met Ayori, one of the creators of Oakland’s recent Startup Weekend covered on KQED’s Newsroom, which is how I heard about it. She is an amazing, gifted technical woman who takes action in our community to include underrepresented groups in technology entrepreneurship. She totally gets it. She shares the belief that we need to provide students with context to truly engage with math and science. To that end, she is using music as a way to educate young people about math at an event she designed for Oakland’s Drop Beats Music Crawl. She spotted my MaKey MaKey Banana Piano activity when I was sharing it at the meetup and got really excited about including it in her Drop Beats program. So, we are working together on adding it! It is going to be perfect. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with!
Readers: do you have any ideas of how to increase diversity in tech? What’s missing in math and science education?