Technology

Help Us Donate to the Mars Generation!

 
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Last year, we did our best to help donate to the Mars Generation and to help them reach their goal of $20,000!  We were able to help them, and we raised almost $150 for them. 

 

This year, we want to raise 8x that.

 

 
 

The Mars Generation is a non-profit that helps kids get excited about STEM.  Started by Abigail Harrison, or as many know her, Astronaut Abby, in 2015, The Mars Generation has been helping children get into Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math ever since.  

 

This year, it's their 3rd Annual #TrainLikeaMartian challenge.  The challenge 'is a week of fun activities that brings awareness to the importance of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) education, space exploration, and physical fitness to students and adults around the world' according to their website.

 

Last year, FemSTEM got involved, and we want to get involved again.

 

We did some of the challenges ourselves, as well as started a fundraising page to help raise them up to their goal!

 

Here is our current fundraising page to help them out this year!

 

If you donate, all of the money goes directly to the Mars Generation -- we don't see any of it.  This is not sponsored by them in any way, shape or form, it's just a fun way to help our fellow STEM-lovers help others!

 

And -- if you donate $25 or more, you get entered into their daily prize drawings as well as their grand prize drawings.  You can learn more information about their prizes here.  On top of that, you'll get a handwritten thank you card from us no matter how much you donate (as long as you donate through our fundraiser here).  

 

What are you waiting for!!

 

DONATE NOW

 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of all things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.



STEM GEMS: A Review of a Book about Women in STEM

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    When kids think of the modern scientist — who do they think of?  Usually, Bill Nye the Science Guy will come to mind (and why not? His catchy theme song has infected the minds of all American kids since 1993).  That …may be it.  Some kids may know of Stephen Hawking, Neil Degrasse Tyson, or Michio Kaku.  

 

    The pattern?  All of these modern day scientists have one thing in common: they are all men.

 

    Stephanie Espy set out to change that.

 

 
 

    Stephanie Espy is a Chemical Engineer and author who decided to shine a light on 44 of today’s modern women scientists.  “I have always been passionate about STEM,”  She writes on her website about why she wrote the book to begin with.  “and I’m equally passionate about getting more girls and young women excited about STEM too. I wrote this book with a mission: to help girls and young women to see their future selves as scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians, and to show them the many diverse options that exist in STEM.”

 

    With this book, she reached her goal and did it spectacularly.

 

    Out of graciousness, I was sent a copy of this book.  Because my life was so hectic, it took me a while to actually get around to reading it, but when I did — I had a hard time putting it down when real life called me to get some work done.  

 

    My first thought was: “Why is this not in every school library?”  

 

 

    These short biographies of these women in STEM give a fun look to their lives, their positions, and their passions.  However, not only did Espy provide 44 role models in STEM from all sorts of walks of life — she does something else for the readers, too. Past all of the bios is advice that Espy has written specifically for the girls who pick up this book.  Advice towards who to get started in STEM, and how to keep up with your goals in these fields.  Taking the stories from the 44 gems, and creating practical guidance from them.

 

    This books is excellently written on top of it all.  It kept my attention, and it taught me about these women effectively.  It’s bound to keep the attention of children in class, and it really should be required reading, or at least suggested reading for science classes.  It would also be an excellent choice for a book report.  

 

    I keep mentioning children reading this, but really, it’s fantastic for all ages.  The writing doesn’t talk down to the reader in the least, and everyone can learn something from it.  My guess is that most people who pick up this book haven’t heard of all of these women — if they’ve heard of any of them to begin with.

 

    Consider supporting Stephanie Espy in her efforts buy purchasing her book here.  You won’t be sorry you did it.  

 

*Mariah was given a copy of this book to read and review for free. This post is otherwise non-sponosered.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of all things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.



Interview: Harshita Arora and Her App Crypto Price Tracker

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Back in the last month of 2017, it felt like the only thing we were hearing about was the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Though it had started the year being worth $1,000, it had a huge spike in December that sparked the news media, having reached a worth of $17,000.

 

Bitcoin may be the most popular cryptocurrency (at least in the United States), but it is far from the only cryptocurrency in circulation.  It can be hard enough to keep track of Bitcoin, let alone the hundreds of other types of cryptocurrency around the world.  However, as the world starts to become interested in the world of cryptocurrency, and as the world begins to lean on it, it’s important to keep track of its real world worth.

 

Harshita Arora, a 16-year-old coder, created an application just for that.

 

 
 
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Crypto Price Tracker, which made it to Apple’s App Store Top Charts, was published just last month on January 28th, 2018.  Harshita, the mastermind behind the app, was kind enough to offer me a free version of the application in order to review it.*  Honestly, the app was incredible.  It was smooth; it functioned well; there were no crashes or bugs that I could see.  It’s a simple app, but it’s simplicity doesn’t take away from it’s beauty — in fact, it may just add to it.

 

DOWNLOAD THE APP FOR IOS

 

After viewing the app and playing around with it, I decided to ask if Harshita would be willing to answer some of my questions about the application.  She was completely willing to!

 

Q: First of all, I want to thank you for being willing to sit down and answer these questions! I think that our readers will throughly enjoy this! 

 

A: Thank you so much for having me! I hope my answers will help people! (: 

 

Q: What inspired you to design this application in the first place? And what got you interested in Cryptocurrency? 

 

A: I’ve shared my story of what inspired me to create Crypto Price Tracker here. In short, I was frustrated of using horribly-designed price tracking apps (not to mention, full of ads) with often inaccurate prices and alerts. I researched more and identified that there was a market need for a better and improved app. So I went ahead and created one :D


I remember the first time I came across the term cryptocurrency was in 2016. I read an article in a tech magazine (Digit) about Bitcoin and Bitcoin mining. Blockchain and building software on blockchain framework was a very interesting concept and business opportunity. Though, I never got around to building products in the field, as I was working on other projects. But in 2017, cryptos were just everywhere online. My Facebook and Quora feed were flooded with content related to cryptos and blockchain. So I started reading more online and got interested in cryptos. 

 

Q: What is the general goal of your application? 

 

A: Crypto Price Tracker helps users track prices of 1000+ cryptocurrencies from over 19 exchanges, set price alerts, manage crypto portfolio, and much more. The goal I had when I started out was to create one app where people can find and do everything they want to, to keep themselves up-to-date with cryptocurrencies and their prices, and manage their portfolio if they’ve invested in cryptos. 

 

 
 
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Q: How long did it take for you to code, design, and develop this application before it was ready to submit?

 

A: I started in November 2017 and I released the app on 28th January 2018. So it was a 2-3 months long journey from start to finish. It’s been an interesting ride! I’ve shared the journey until launch here in this post. I’m writing a post on launching, marketing, and getting feedback. 

 

 

Q: What was the beginning process of developing an application like this? Did you write the code from scratch, or use some sort of base? Was this for a classroom project, or just in your free time? 

 

A: The process started with having a product spec so that I know what features will go into the app. Then I began drawing user-flow diagrams and wireframes for each screen. I then designed all screens using Affinity Designer. That process took 3-4 weeks. I’ve shared my learnings and advice on how to design beautiful apps in this post. 

 

After designs were ready and imported in Xcode, that’s when I moved on to coding. Developing iOS apps is a lot of fun and the code was written from scratch. I used a lot of libraries, frameworks, and cocoapods. Mainly: SwiftyJSON, Alamofire, Charts, Popup Dialog, and CoreData. I couldn’t have developed the app without my mentors, Aviral and Bhavish. They were super critical in coding the app. And my friend, Harsh built the back-end on Firebase. 

 

It was not a classroom project since I do not go to school. I’ve been an unschooler for 1.5 years. Crypto Price Tracker is my first solo app. 

 

Q: How did you learn how to code, and what makes you so passionate about coding? 

 

A: I learned digital design and app design when I was 14 from my CS teacher. He’d assign really interesting projects to build, to give students real world design experience. He introduced me to Google’s Scratch and MIT App Inventor. I used to play around with them all day, for months, and that’s where I learnt basic programming concepts and built projects. Then I got the opportunity to intern at Salesforce in winter 2016 – which is where I got exposure to working in tech for the first time. 

 

I love designing and building products. And being able to build valuable software that solves a market need is a super fun and rewarding process. 

 

 
 

Q: Are you looking forward to creating new applications as well? And will they be long similar lines, or do you have new ideas that have nothing to do with Cryptocurrency? 

 

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A: Yes! I’ve recently started working on an AI app with a friend. It’s an app in Health and Fitness – so a completely different market. I’d be sharing more on this app on my Medium in a few weeks! 

 

Q: Have you received a lot of positive feedback and support from anyone in particular? Strangers reviewing the application, or family members and friends? 

 

A: Yes! When I started out with this app, 5-6 of my friends in crypto helped me understand a lot of terms and concepts in crypto and helped me a lot in figuring out the features that people/users want. When I had a prototype in Adobe XD, I asked my friends to test it out and they gave a lot of positive feedback and suggestions for improvements. ~50 of my friends tested the beta when it was on TestFlight, which was 1 week prior to planned submission. I never got any strangers to test the app until v1.0 release. After the release, my inbox was flooded with emails from happy users sharing feedback and things to work on. 

 

Q: Would you call the application an overall success and a driving point in your coding career? Why? 

 

A: I think Crypto Price Tracker has been pretty successful in acquiring users and retaining them. I’ve gotten 1,500+ downloads in 2 weeks. It was #2 app in Finance in the App Store top charts for paid apps within 24 hours of launch. It was featured on Product Hunt. A post about it on reddit got a lot of virality. And tons more good things have happened! I’m also getting acquisition offers right now. I’d say yes, it was definitely a driving point in my career in tech. 

 

Q: What would you say as a word of advice to anyone looking to get into coding themselves? 

 

A: Something I wish more people knew is that there’s a lot of resources online to ask questions if you get stuck. My favorite website is codementor.io. I’ve met a few of my coding mentors on the platform when I had questions. 

Another useful resource to ask questions (though you can’t get 1-on-1 mentoring) would be: Quora, reddit, StackOverflow. 

When learning to code, and especially if you’re self-learning with online courses and books, you will get stuck a lot. Knowing where to ask questions from more experience programmers and developers can help a lot! 

 

I cannot recommend downloading this application enough.  Even if you don’t know anything about cryptocurrency, it’s amazing to see this young woman excel at what she loves to do — and to help support her.  You can download the app on IOS devices here.

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of all things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.

 

Interview: Taylor Richardson is Taking the Space World By Storm

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Back in January, one girl decided to help other girls see the movie Hidden Figures so that they could be inspired to get into STEM. Taylor Richardson is a 13-year-old aspiring astronaut who is a huge activist in her community.  She had started an anti-bullying campaign, and she’s also a huge advocate for STEM fields.

 

Her mother, Toni Richardson, supports her all the way.  According to a Medium article about their story, Toni moved Taylor from South Carolina to Florida after Taylor was, unfortunately, bullied at her previous school.  She also helped start Taylor’s aforementioned GoFundMe campaign to send 100 girls to watch Hidden Figures, where they raised over $17,000 in just a month.

 

Taylor and Toni have been featured in many articles online and in other mainstream media because of their efforts.  From Fusion to Forbes, more and more people heard about their efforts.  Taylor also participated in April’s “March for Science” on Earth Day.

 

I was lucky enough to get in touch with Taylor and Toni Richardson, and Taylor agreed to answer some questions for me about how she 'rocks STEM' and how she decided to get her Hidden Figures campaign started, as well as some of her plans for the future.  Her answers below are inspirational and, frankly, quite amazing.

 

Q:  Hello, Taylor!  Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to fill these questions out!  You and your mother have been absolutely wonderful so far!

A: Thank you for speaking with me. It's truly an honor. I am a huge fan.  Thank you for your contributions in STEM as well.

 

Q:  So, I’m sure you’ve told this story before, but I wanted to ask you: what sparked your love for space and NASA? What made you want to become an astronaut?

A:  I've been interested in space and stars since I was five. What is outside our world. You know.  But when I read Find Where The Wind Goes by Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American women to go into space, I was really excited.  And then when I turned nine and old enough to attend space camp in Alabama I was like ‘I want to be an astronaut or do something in the STEM field to work for NASA one day’.

 

Q:  Could you explain to our readers what makes the study of space, and really science in general, so important to you?

A:  Wow, it’s a lot of reasons, but the main reason now to me is promoting science and space education in girls.  We need to inspire younger generations of girls to know that science/STEM  isn't a boy or girl game, it's everyone's game.  That it's important that girls know that with hard work they can not only become an aeronautical engineer whose job is to design a spaceship that could fly to Mars, but actually be the astronaut who's inside it. It's important to me that I use my platform to engage, inspire and have girls act on being in STEM fields.

 

Q:  The big news that went pretty viral about you was how you raised money for girls to watch Hidden Figures for free!  That’s amazing! What inspired you to raise the money for this cause? And was it difficult to raise the money? 

A:  I was inspired to raise money for a few girls to see the movie after attending a special screening at the White House with the cast and former First Lady, Michelle Obama.  Mrs. Obama said we as girls have to do the work and take those hard math classes and we have to keep the door open for girls to follow behind us.  So that inspired me to do a GoFundMe and raise money for a 100 girls in my city and give them the book to promote not only STEM, but literacy as well.

 

I still can't believe that I raised  almost $20,000, inspiring fundraisers in 28 states in 72 cities. I just wanted girls to see this movie and to see that we, as women/girls, even in the worst environments could still be great and do great things.  I wasn't sure if I would raise the money, but it wasn't difficult to raise because there were so many people who, like me, believed in the cause — which was to get girls to this movie so they could dream big and see girls who look like them achieving unbelievable tasks.  I'm really proud and so humbly grateful to everyone who contributed and changed lives in many little girls — over a 1000 of them in Jacksonville alone.

 

Q:  Because of what you did for your community and girls everywhere, you’ve been featured on a lot of different platforms recently.  Everything from womenyoushouldknow.net  to People Magazine.  How have you felt about this?  Has this attention been somewhat overwhelming?

A: I feel really good about it.  The attention from the many different and diverse platforms helps little girls who not only look like me but all girls see a girl in a blue suit and wonder can I be that or better yet I will be that. So I'm grateful for it.   I've talked with Forbes, Motto Time, even BBC News in the U.K. So it's amazing to help girls see we can not only be at the STEM table, but lead it.  The Hidden Figures movie, along with all the media attention, just makes it that much better for us girls.  It's showing representation matters in not only race but gender as well.

 

The attention has been a little overwhelming in that I'm really quiet and reserved, but it's given me a platform now to speak out and I'm not going anywhere. But it's all good, especially if we can inspire just one to know they can be at the STEM table.

 

Q:  Do you have any specific goals for your schooling?  A certain college you might want to attend, or other aspirations for your school career?  

A:  I am still middle school at the Bolles School and its curriculum is definitely keeping me engaged and preparing me for success.   I use my summers and some time during the year to attend robotics or engineering or flight events.  Of course visiting various space centers.  Wow, college.  I would love to tour and maybe attend  MIT, California Institute of Technology, or Clark Atlanta University to name a few and major in engineering or math. And I want to take flight lessons. That's about it for now, since I'm just 13. Lol.

 

Q:  If someone comes up to you, and asks you for advice on how to get started down the path of heading to space, what advice do you think you’d give them?

A:  I would tell youth to read everything they can find about it, find a mentor or maybe several, check out a few space centers, an internship, and then if still interested get busy in the classroom. As Mrs. Obama said, put down that snapchat and get into those advanced math and science classes. And most importantly, make sure you have a passion for space, not just for the money, but understand the unknown and ways to make our world a better place.

 

Q:  Thank you so much, again, for sitting down with us.  Our readers will very much enjoy this, I know it, and we truly appreciate it.  Good luck with everything, Taylor!

A: Thank you for speaking with me. Keep in touch.

 

 
 

Taylor Richardson Helped Send 14-year-old Kaitlyn to Space Camp!

 

 
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We recently interviewed Taylor Richardson, a young, aspiring astronaut, who raised money so that girls could watch the movie Hidden Figures for free.  Her good heart hasn't stopped there, though.

 

Recently Taylor Richardson, and her mother Toni Richardson, held an essay writing contest. The lucky winner would win a trip to a Space Camp.  "My first GoFundMe was to get me to Space Camp," Taylor told me.  "so I figured why not use the last bit of proceeds to help someone else go."

 

That lucky winner wound up being 14-year-old Kaitlyn Ludlam, and she will be going to a Space Camp in Huntsville, Al.

 

Kaitlyn herself said that she's been involved in STEM for as long as she can remember.  "For a long time I have designed, built, and programmed robots," Kaitlyn said in her essay.  "I have spent a lot of my free time studying Chemistry, Hydrology, Demography, Biology, Ecology, and every type of math availiable to me. [...]  After I go to college, I dream of becoming an engineer. [...]  I want to learn what I could do in the discovery of what is outside our planet and understand the phenomenons of space. Any book I read or article I find can never replace what I can learn at space camp."

 

Taylor Richardson surprised Kaitlyn at her school to announce Kaitlyn's win.  "I surprised her at her school,"  Taylor told me via email. "Did that and went straight to [my] school.  Long day, but productive."

 

Taylor's legacy of supportive and successful fundraising will not end there, either.  She told me:  "I'm about to start another campaign to raise funds for me and mom to travel to California, Massachusetts, New York and Texas [in the] summer. There are camps at these places like YEA camp (omg so excited) Black Girls Lead, and of course space centers.  My goal is get enough funds to travel and donate extra funds to these organizations for another kid next year."

 

FemSTEM will absolutely be supporting Taylor in her future endeavors as she continues to support and inspire other young girls in STEM.

 

And congrats, Kaitlyn! We read your essay, and you deserved this! 

 

 

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.

Meet the Smartwatch Designed For Blind Users

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Originally published April 2017

 

Smartwatches, love them or hate them, are becoming a huge part of our day to day life.  Many people have them, and companies are making more and more apps to go along with them as the days go on.  However, for someone who cannot see, they’re very difficult to use.  Though voice control on many of the devices (like Apple’s Siri) may aid in allowing those who are blind to use a smartwatch, it’s still not something created with them in mind.

 

The company Dot thought about this, and they’ve developed a smartwatch for blind users.

 

AN ACCESSIBLE SMARTWATCH INSPRIED BY A CLASSMATE

 

Eric Juyoon Kim, the CEO of Dot, had a classmate during his time at University of Washington who was vision-impaired.  Watching his classmate having to lug around a big braille book while everyone else sported tablets struck him.  Accessibility for the blind to have technology like tablets is still an issue.  Certain existing devices aimed at remedying this are usually very expensive, and Eric wanted to make something more affordable and accessible for those who needed it.

 

Dot is a small start-up company at the moment, but they have a great team of engineers working on the project alongside Eric.  They’ve also won various awards for their work since 2014, including at the London International Awards in October.

 

ABOUT THE DOT SMARTWATCH

 

The smartwatch is a Braille watch, that has the Braille text right on the watch face for users to touch and interact with. It’s meant to be as unlimited as possible in its potentials.  Dot has created a new technology in order to make this watch work the way they want to.  Their developed technology lessens the size needed for the device, making it not bulky or heavy (their product is 12.5mm thick and weighs 27g).  They also developed this technology to be less expensive, and therefore make it more accessible to everyone, while uncompromising on the device quality.

 

The target price of the Dot Watch will start from $300 before tax, and Dot plans to keep the price range consistent across the global market.

 

The watch will display text messages, social media notifications, and other text-based notifications, allowing the user to read whatever they need to right on their wrist.  And, of course, it will also display the time in Braille as well. It also works with both iPhone and Android devices.

 

For now, the product will be available in both English and Korean.  They plan on bringing more Braille languages to the table, such as Japanese, Arabic, French, German, Dutch, Chinese, and more.

 

HOW DO I GET ONE?

 

You can currently Pre-Order the device here.  Since the price has not yet been set, pre-ordering the smartwatch will not contractually bind you financially.  There will be a 10% discount, however, if you do decide to pre-order the Dot Watch.

 

Marked on their website’s about page is a quote from Stevie Wonder.  It states:  “We need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability”, and Dot plans to do just that.  It will be great to see how far this product goes, and how many people it will help.

 

 

*This article is not sponsored

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.

How to Stop Spreading False Information on Social Media

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As much as we don't like to admit it, we've probably have all spread fake news and false information via social media.

 

But it's Not Like This is Anything New

 

Despite what the comedic, political satire comic "The Birth of Fake News" might have said, the press hasn't been the best source of information for the past 600 years.  Fake news and the spread of false information in order to get readers to buy your paper has been a strategy for a very long time.  The term "Yellow Journalism" was coined back in the 1890s.  This term was a sweeping generalization of news that was not well-researched (if at all), and spread to make the headlines sell papers.  However, this was still a problem back in the 1400s.

 

According to Politico Magazine, back in 1400s there were similar problems.  There was a lack of journalistic ethics causing fake stories to pass in the newly-invented press and spread to the neighboring towns reading.

 

Fake news might be seen as more of an epidemic these days for the mere fact along that it can take minutes for false information to go viral.

 

The fact of the matter is -- fakes news will always be there.  False information will always be sprinkled about (if not completely obvious) in our media.  We have to be responsible.  We have to not share things that are not factual, especially when it comes to scientific discoveries or facts.  It can be easy to retweet something right off the back.  Something that makes it look like we're correct on some side of whatever debate we happen to be on.

 

But how can you stop the spreading?

 

1. Recognize You're Not Infallible Yourself

 

We have to face the facts -- we're probably going to spread something false. Even if we go into it with the best intentions, it's easy to spread something, and that can catch fire quickly.  If this happens, and you recognize it, just apologize.  Perhaps delete the post (though that won't always rid of the problem depending on how far it spread), but do so with an apology.  You'll look more reliable if you admit your wrongdoing rather than just sweeping the evidence underneath the rug.  A lot of times, people will find what dust you left behind if you try to hide it.

 

2.  Recognize That Science Journals Aren't Always Accurate

 

A journalist scammed the media into spreading the false information that chocolate was good for you.  He did this by submitting a fake scientific study to a scientific journal.  He has a Ph.D, and new exactly what he was doing as he created a junk article that was intended to catch fire and destroy everything in its pathway.  When Dr.Bohannon came out and said the study was false, he said:  "You have to know how to read a scientific paper — and actually bother to do it.  For far too long, the people who cover this beat have treated it like gossip, echoing whatever they find in press releases. Hopefully our little experiment will make reporters and readers alike more skeptical."

 

3.  Don't Hit the Retweet Button Until You're As Sure as You Can Be

 

Do your own research before you spread any information.  Especially if you're not an expert in the field yourself.  Create a check list of what to look out for before retweeting that article.

 

  • Does the article come from a reliable news source? One that's proven itself to be so?
  • Does the article have sources linked or written beneath it?
  • Do those sources come from reliable places?
  • Has there been conflicting articles or evidence? What did those have to say?

 

4. Be as Unbiased as Humanly Possible

 

This is probably the hardest one. Science has become a very polarized place, and it has mingled with politics whether you think it should have or not. Because of this, sides have been created. As a result, we have to be as careful as possible to not let our emotions get involved.  When emotions get involved, they can take over logic without much of a fight.  Since that is the case, everything else we talked about in this article wouldn't even matter; we got too far ahead of ourselves.  We felt so passionately, we already spread the false information.

 

You can't stop the spreading of fake news, but you can be more responsible yourself.

 

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.

Code Angel: A New Kickstarter Campaign to Teach You and Your Children How to Code

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Since the original publishing of this article, CODE ANGEL was successfully funded, and can be found here

Learning to code has never been easier than with a Raspberry Pi computer.  These computers, the size of a credit card, are designed specifically to teach children how to code.  In this day and age this is, of course, something incredibly crucial to learn, considering how much we use computers every single day.

 

Schools in the UK have used Raspberry Pi in their classrooms, but there isn’t always enough time to actually teach coding properly.  However, with Code Angel, your child can learn to do this on her own, at home, on her own time using the Python programming language.

 

What is Code Angel?

 

 
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Currently, Code Angel is a Kickstarter project that launched today at 15:00 GMT, or 11am EST.  It was founded by Mark Cunningham, who had the idea to teach “the principles of computer programming through 12 amazing game projects”.  The game projects include (but are not limited to) an Alien Invasion Game, Tic Tac Toe, and Mini Golf.

 

 

When you purchase Code Angel (which will be about 25£ — about ~$32 — at the time of its release) it comes fully loaded with everything your child (or even yourself) will need to learn how to code these games.  The code of each game is explained by computer science teachers via video, teaching your child beforehand how to code the game so that they can learn as they go along.  And learning how to code games specifically should keep your child more engaged than a typical coding course.

 

What if you’ve made a mistake, and you can’t figure out what you’ve done wrong? Code Angel themselves will explain how to fix your bugs if you upload the code to their website.

 

Every graphic needed for the game, and every sound needed, are already availiable with Code Angel when your purchase it — all you have to do is implement the code.

 

There’s two different ways you can purchase Code Angel as well.  There’s Code Angel in a Box, which gives you your own personal Raspberry Pi computer and everything else you need to start right from the box.  There’s also Code Angel Digital, which is perfect if you already have a Raspberry Pi.  This form of the program allows you to download and stream the content from Code Angel’s website.

 

Mark Cunningham decided to do this project out of a place of passion.  “Code Angel is not gender specific,”  He told me.  “[But] as a Computing Science teacher and father to [two] girls I am passionate about getting girls into coding/computing”.

 

In his press release for the project, he goes on by saying: “Computer programming is a key 21st Century skill, but it should also be fun and give the learner a sense of achievement.  With over 20 years of  experience of teaching computer programming in schools, we know what motivates learners and we know what causes barriers to their learning. We also believe in developing computational thinking skills.”

 

You can visit their Kickstarter to support them here!  There are a lot of great perks if you decide to help fund the project.  You can also visit their Twitter account here to get more updates on the project as it moves forward, and also check out their website!

 

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.

But What If She’s Just Not Interested in STEM?

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Every day there is more and more encouragement on the internet and other forms of media for girls to get into STEM fields and to thrive in them.  From shows on PBS, to Twitter threads and Facebook groups, and lots and lots of news stories about girls thriving in STEM in order to encourage other girls to get into STEM.

 

This …might be a cause of some anxiety for some parents depending on some things.

 

What if she’s just not interested in STEM? 

 

The fact is, we should all be interested in STEM to some degree.  Not only will some interest help us get through our schooling (if I had more of an interest in Math, it would have helped me a ton), but there’s something we need to face.  STEM is in our every day lives, whether we like it or not.  Without STEM there would be no computers, or smart phones, or televisions.  Without STEM there wouldn’t be the plants outside, or the pets within our houses!  We wouldn’t even have our homes, if you think about it!  Construction takes a lot of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math!

 

If we don’t have an interest in STEM at all, we don’t have an interest in a lot of life. Without you even realizing it, some of your interests (if not most of your interests) are going to be linked in STEM.  This is also true for your daughters (and sons, of course).

 

Another fact: Truthfully? Though we might not have a career in it, we all are scientists.

 

Something to consider might be: is she not interested in STEM, or has she just not been exposed to it enough?

 

There’s lots of ways to expose your girls to STEM that make it fun and enjoyable for them.  More and more books about STEM are coming out for younger ages, and more and more programs exist to get girls into STEM.

 

[caption id="attachment_465" align="aligncenter" width="700"]<a href="http://www.surlatoile.com/WomenInScience/"><img class="wp-image-465" src="https://femstem.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_2912-1024x685.jpg" alt="women in science" width="700" height="469" /></a> From luanagames.com[/caption]

 

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Here are a few for your viewing pleasure*:

 

#GirlsWhoCode - A national non-profit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology.

STEM Girls Books - A company in development with three picture books coming out around Summer of 2017.

Women in Science the Card Game - An original, fun and educational card game that includes 44 different women for your children to learn about! Plus an expansion pack!

STEMBox - A monthly subscription box that sends science experiments to your door.

Beyond Curie Posters - A slew of posters of women scientists. Perfect for a classroom, or a bedroom!

Sasha Tech Savvy Loves to Code - A children’s book that hasn’t been released yet, but should come out soon!

Launch Ladies - Another children’s book (for very little ones) that will be released soon about Women in Space.

 

But Here’s the Bottom Line:

 

There should be NO PRESSURE for your child to have a career in STEM.  Everyone is different, everyone has different interests, and not everyone wants to be a scientist for a living.  That’s okay — of course it is.  There’s been a bigger push for women to come into science lately, but that’s because there’s a lot of opportunity there and everyone should know that this is an option for them if they want to go that route.

 

But if they don’t — that’s of course okay.

 

We’re going to continue to encourage girls to be interested in STEM, but there’s no pressure.

 

*this post was not sponsored

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.

Teach Your Kids to Be Social Media Savvy: 3 Tips

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Originally Posted March 30, 2017

 

Social media is just a part of our lives now (for the most of us, anyway).  We use it to run our businesses, we use it to connect with family, and we use it to get in touch with friends.  And children are using social media, too.  In the form of everything; from Twitter to Snapchat, to Musical.ly.

But we cannot just let kids roam around on social media.  We need to teach them how.  Here are a few tips on how to teach your kids to be smart, and savvy, on social media.

 

1)  Do NOT Allow Your Children to Have Social Media Accounts if They’re Not Thirteen

 

This is illegal in most cases, believe it or not.  Some social media platforms, such as the deceased Vine or What’sApp, require that your children are at least 16 or 17 years of age before joining them.  This is for protective purposes.  For example, Twitter says that if parents become aware that their child under 13 has started an account, that they should inform Twitter right away so that the company can terminate the account.

This is this way for a number of reasons.  One is safety, as many internet trolls roam around the internet, wanting to harm your kids with words.  But also because of online predators who wish to do more than just bother your children.

This is also for security reasons.  Places like Twitter and Facebook are free services because they take your information and basically sell them to advertising companies.  They know your internet history, and what you’re interested in, and what your age (if you told them the truth), gender, race, and so on is.  They use all of this information to sell you products, but here’s the thing:

 

They aren’t allowed to take this information from children under the age of thirteen. 

 

Our Services are not directed to persons under 13. If you become aware that your child has provided us with personal information without your consent, please contact us at privacy@twitter.com. We do not knowingly collect personal information from children under 13. If we become aware that a child under 13 has provided us with personal information, we take steps to remove such information and terminate the child’s account. — Twitter’s Privacy Policy

 

2)  Remind and Teach Your Children to Not Be a Bully Themselves

 

A lot of heated debate takes place on all forms of social media.  These debates range anywhere from “who’s the best character on the Justice League” to politics.  It’s very easy for anyone, but especially for unexperienced children, to get caught up in these debates and get themselves, or someone else, hurt.  Mean words often come out, and so do bad names.

Encourage your kids to stay away from public forums and comments under YouTube videos.  Though sometimes comments can be engaging, discussion worthy, and educational, many times they are just filled with hate and people who are trying to seek attention.  These people just want you or your children to respond so that they can feel better about themselves, and the last thing you want is for your kids to fall into this bad spiral.

If your kids do see a comment or a forum with something that they don’t agree with, and they feel the urge to yell at users across the web, teach them to discuss it with you.  Teach them to go to you, as the parent, first before they respond.  Maybe they’ll decide it’s best not to respond at all.  Teach them to reason on the situation, instead of react to the situation.

 

3)  Teach Them the Difference Between a Real E-Mail and a Fake, Phishing E-Mail

 

This applies to many social media posts as well.  Many times there are key differences between a real email from a company and a fake one from someone pretending to be a company.

As an example, many fake Google emails will appear to have an old version of the Google logo located at the top of the email, rather than Google’s current logo.

 

REAL GOOGLE EMAIL I’VE RECIEVED

 

 
 
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EXAMPLE OF FAKE GOOGLE EMAIL

 

 
 
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Furthermore, if someone your children follow on social media suddenly starts to post advertising out of nowhere, and these posts have suspicious looking URLs tagged with them, they are more likely phishing posts, and that user has most likely been hacked.

 

These posts and emails steal information, try to sell you services you don’t need, or may even install viruses onto your computer.  Teaching your kids how to be shrewd, and how to avoid these, will keep them safe, as well as their computer, and their personal information.

 

There’s of course much more that you need to do in order to teach your kids how to be safe and smart online, but these tips should get you started in the right direction.

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.