About Mrs. Scofield
Being the mom of a middle school girl is an amazing adventure. I am constantly learning from my 7th grade daughter and love watching her develop into the incredible young lady that she is becoming. Last year, I stumbled into becoming an assistant coach for my son’s third grade Lego robotics team. Like many pivotal moments in a person’s life, I was not looking to dive into something huge and life-changing, but the situation just presented itself and from there something big was about to begin. Being a part of that team opened my eyes to so many things about how kids interact with coding and computers. Regardless of having very little coding experience before this program began, these kids just dove right in and embraced the entire experience. It was a remarkable thing to witness. Because we were putting in long hours after school with the robots, my daughter had the chance to see what this Lego robotics program was all about. Although week after week, I would find her gravitating towards tweaking a code that had gone awry, or problem-solving with a student about what kind of attachment would make the most sense to use to accomplish various missions, she would maintain, she “wasn’t into that coding stuff” and that she was only doing those things because “there was nothing better to do”.
After the First Lego League season was over, Mr. Lane and I decided we wanted to start a Lego Robotics club for the upper grades. I told my daughter she needed to be a part of the club and although she was not happy to be dragged into something she was sure she “would not enjoy,” she begrudgingly agreed to do it. It was shortly after this time, when we were applying for a grant to purchase more updated robots for the kids, that we discovered mind-boggling data that showed a disturbing gender gap for girls in computer science. Mr. Lane and I were completely shocked by the facts and knew we could not ignore this problem. The statistics we uncovered about the huge gender gap created within us a unwavering determination to be part of the solution to this problem. We knew we could put together a program that would not only address the gender gap but help to begin reversing it.
I am happy to report that once my daughter was given the chance to try her hand at programming robots, she had a complete change of heart and is now one of the biggest champions for diving head-first into all things computer science and has stepped into the role of a leader (and recruiter), within the Moxie Girl club. Just from this positive experience with coding, she has become passionate about website design, filming and editing movies, drones, programming Sphero robots, developing lessons for Minecraft, and game and app design. Seeing the shift that took place within my own child and the way she now views computer science, made me incredibly determined to do what I could to help other girls her age to see the amazing experiences waiting for them as well.
When we began the journey of creating Moxie Girls last year, we knew we wanted to create something amazing for girls, and we hoped that they would respond and trust us enough to give it a try. We had no idea how these girls would whole-heartedly embrace this experience and prove that all that was needed was for someone to step in and create a safe place for them to test out and explore computer science, someplace where they would feel encouraged to try new things and be empowered to become tech creators for the first time in their lives. To create a place for them where change could begin to happen. I am the absolute luckiest person in the world to be part of this amazing group of girls who teach me so much more each week than I could ever begin to teach them.
About Mr. Lane
I teach 3rd and my students have encouraged me to learn as much as possible about everything related to computer science. My passion is to ignite that spark that lies beneath the surface in all of my students. I have seen first hand what introducing computer science into the curriculum can do for students. I like to dabble in a bit of everything. I love competition and I love seeing my students performing on the biggest stage. I coach two Rubik’s Cube teams at our school, I also coach a First Lego League team, I run a Minecraft Education Edition club, and I am looking forward to bringing Code Combat to our school.
Last year Mrs. Scofield and myself were looking into grants to purchase some more technology for our clubs. As we were conducting research we kept coming across the same theme over and over. The fact that there are not enough females involved with computer science in high schools, colleges, and the computer science field in general. This is a problem that Silicon Valley has been addressing. How do we get more girls involved in computer science from a younger age? Now I have a daughter who is in kindergarten and I wanted to make sure I did everything in my power to keep her love of building, Legos, and inquiry going throughout her life. We decided that we could not just sit around and allow the gender inequality in the tech sector to increase. So we set out with one goal in mind “to create an all girls computer science club that shows girls how awesome computer science can be through hands on exploration, coding, web design, robotics, drones, and female mentorship.” With that vision in mind a year long computer science club was born and we dubbed them the Moxie Girls.