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Showing posts from December, 2019

Hour of Code * 5

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Today for Hour of Code I had the opportunity to spend not just an hour but a whole day teaching seventy 5th graders about engineering. A day of teaching is exhausting. Despite the active participation, keeping them engaged all day left me lightheaded and drained. Being married to a teacher I've seen first hand how much thought and care goes into their work. But spending a day in their shoes is illuminating on a whole other level and something everyone should experience to understand just how underappreciated they are. Thanking them is one thing, but we should be doing so much more.

Stop Giving Swag

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In Canada, Engineers receive a jagged iron ring as part of their graduation ceremony. The ring is designed to be uncomfortable and scratch against things as a reminder that a calculation error could easily result in a bridge collapse, or 150 million database records leaking. Today I hosted thirty 6th Grade STEM students. We ran through some exercises and challenges, and at the end I pulled out a bowl filled with little hexagonal nuts on chains. I told them about the iron ring, and how when I was a kid I had a Microsoft keychain, and how happy I was the day I landed a job there. Normally we give away swag or prizes, but this time I spent very little money. These were completely worthless. The value was the meaning behind it: that it was a token reminder of their aspiration to one day get an iron ring. I was so impressed with how many of then wanted one. A mom who was chaperoning later mentioned to me that she'd been in IT but then l decided to stay at home to raise the kids. She tol

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