Bridging The Digital Divide For Latina Girls Analysis (Doc)
Trends Analysis: The Digital Divide
A View of the Digital Divide in the Context of Young Latina Girls from Low-Income
Digital Divide – Definition
As schools begin to fill their classrooms and libraries with computers, interactive white boards,
eLearning tools, and the world wide web, the rush to understand how technologies affect the
outcomes of student learning has created a platform for research. Naysayers and supporters alike
are pushing forward to understand the connections between technology/media in the classroom
and best practices in systematic applications.
A direct result from the close examination of this research, educational technology nomenclature
now includes the phrase digital divide. From its initial conception ―first coined by Lloyd
Morrisett‖ (Pirofski), the term strives to provide theories that support the benefits of technology
in the classroom by comparing students who have access to technology and students who don’t.
One interpretation of the Morrisett’s digital divide, according to Martin Ryder, author of the
essay titled ―The Digital Divide,‖ submits, ―The digital divide refers to the gap between those
who can effectively benefit from information and computing technologies (ICTs) and those who
The UK website, ―Internet Rights and Internet Wrongs,‖ expands Ryder’s definition to include a
more specific population and factors that accompany the concept,
The 'digital divide' is the term used to describe the growing gap, or social
exclusion, between those who have access to the new services of the information
society, and those who do not. This can be for a number of reasons: access to
education or training, lack of money to buy the required equipment, or lack of
access because of the problems obtaining the required communications links or
services to get online.
In an article edited by Mauro Bieg, on behalf of the The Foundation for P2P Alternatives, Bieg
cites the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development definition of the digital
OECD... roughly frames the digital divide as: "the gap between individuals,
households, businesses and geographic areas at different socio-economic levels
with regard both to their opportunities to access ICT and to their use of the
Internet for wide variety of activities."
Bieg continues to cite Professor TeunVan Dijk’s, a professor of discourse studies, inclusion of
specific barriers that accompany the socioeconomically factors that define the digital divide:
1. ―Mental access": This type of access is restricted by a lack of elementary digital
experience caused by lack of interest, computer anxiety, and unattractiveness of
the new technology.
2. "Material access": This is restricted if there is no possession of computers and
3. "Skills access": A lack of digital skills caused by insufficient user-friendliness
and inadequate education or social support limit skills access.
4. "Usage access": Lack of significant usage opportunities restrict (sic) usage
An evaluation of these definitions presents viewpoints that suggest the ―...digital divide is
not just about access to technology, nor necessarily of high cost, but has a socio-
economic component,‖ (Bieg). The disparity between the have and the have-nots is not
a new concept in the context of education and academic performance: Historically, the
attainment of knowledge and the opportunities gained by that knowledge are obtainable
to those who can afford it.
Correlation of Digital Divide and Student Performance
One analysis of data collected from technology in education research acknowledges a correlation
between the digital divide (students who are unable to access technology) and low academic
performance in economically challenged schools. According to research conducted by Kira Isak
Pirofski, in her essay Are All Schools Equally Wired: An overview of the digital divide in
elementary and secondary schools in the United States, the negative implications of this
technological divide between the haves and the have-nots results in student populations that do
not have the same educational opportunities as their counterparts. Pirofski explains how this
divide impacts student’s future in terms academic motivation and career potential:
Minority and low income students who are not provided programming,
networking, and word processing skills will have compromised educational,
economic, and employment possibilities. Post-secondary educational institutions
expect students to be computer literate, and almost all forms of employment have
placed an increasing premium on computer skills.
It seems logical to assume that schools who service demographics that include a majority of
underprivileged and underrepresented populations, minorities, areas of low-income housing and
homelessness, and rising rates of unemployment do not have the funds to provide innovative
technology in the classrooms. If the current research is correct in its assumption that students
who cannot readily access technology will struggle to succeed in school as well as in society,
then the digital divide also becomes an indicator of national economic progress. It is likely that,
due to the nature of ever evolving innovations in the field of technology, the digital divide is
determined to widen as schools with monetary resources invest more in improving the quality of
educational technology. Ryder responds to such probabilities by stating,
For those who can both contribute and retrieve information from the Web, ICTs
hold the promise of broad collaborations in science and technology, transparency
in government, rationality of markets, and shared understandings between
peoples. Sadly, this utopian promise applies only to an elite few.
Understanding the predictors of educational and social inequities that allows the digital
divide to grow should aid in policy changes that present opportunities for all students to
achieve their fullest potential. ―Like access to food or clean water, access to essential
information has moral and ethical implications that merit consideration in the formation
of public policy,‖ (Ryder).
Gaps in Achievement - Narrowing the Focus
In the 2008 Immigration Report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the
United State’s largest population of Legal Permanent Residents (LPR) originates from
Focusing on the total of Latinos, in general, exceeds forty million residents:
Estimate Margin of Error
Total: 301,237,703 *****
Not Hispanic or Latino 255,805,545 +/-5,825
Hispanic or Latino: 45,432,158 +/-5,828
Mexican 29,318,971 +/-52,779
Puerto Rican 4,127,728 +/-28,732
Cuban 1,572,138 +/-15,633
Dominican (Dominican Republic) 1,249,471 +/-19,018
Central American 3,592,810 +/-38,947
South American 2,544,070 +/-28,320
Other Hispanic or Latino 3,026,970 +/-31,123
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2006-2008 American Community Survey
Among these Latino residents, over 90% live at or below the nation’s poverty level (US
Census). In accordance, ―The schools many Latinos attend are more crowded, have
higher teacher turnover, and tend to have teachers with less experience. These schools’
limited resources may restrict Latino students’ access to rigorous academic programs or
after-school enrichment activities‖ (Listening to Latinas...).
The ability for young Latinos (specifically immigrants and first generation) to succeed in
school is challenged by several factors: language barriers, prejudice, poverty, and
famillia obligations, cultural values, etc. Investigating the gap in student achievement,
regardless of ethnicity, reveals the relationship between socioeconomic factors and
learning outcomes. Findings from a recent Washington Assessment of Student Learning
Test produced the following data:
According to these findings, and other related research, poverty levels and learning
outcomes are directly related to one another. Adding an ethnicity component to the
student’s profile increases the risk of the student not graduating from high school.
In 2000, about 530,000 Hispanic 16-to-19-year-olds were high school dropouts,
yielding a dropout rate of 21.1 percent for all Hispanic 16-to-19-year-olds (U.S.
Census Bureau, 2003). The Latino youth dropout rate was more than three times
greater than the 2000 non-Hispanic "white alone" dropout rate of 6.9 percent. As a
measure of the future schooling and social and economic prospects among teen
populations, these aggregate status dropout rates clearly underline the
disadvantages that Latino youth have, on average, upon entry to adulthood
The Latina Experience
Narrowing the focus of those affected by a growing digital divide, from the Latino experience to
the Latina experience, specifically, renders yet another factor to consider; gender. Latinas are the
fastest growing group of female school-aged youth (Listening to Latinas...). In an attempt to
understand and authenticate the Latina experience, the National Women’s Law Center produced
a comprehensive publication in August of 2009, titled, Listening to Latinas: Barriers to High
School Graduation. According to the study,
Forty-one percent of Latinas—as compared to 22% of White girls—fail to
graduate from high school on time with a standard diploma. Failure to obtain a
high school diploma has life-long negative consequences for Latinas’ health and
economic well-being, as well as a long-term impact on the general strength of the
United States labor force. Almost half of Latinas between the ages of 25 and 64
who lack a high school diploma are unemployed. Those who are employed earn
an average annual income of only $15,030. These grim prospects have serious
consequences: for example, 35% of Latina high school dropouts are forced to rely
on Medicaid for health care services.
Although many Latina girls initially revealed high aspirations for their future; however,
after reflecting on the barriers they faced, too many reconsidered their possibilities and
changed their responses, indicating they probability wouldn’t meet their own
expectations (Listening to Latinas...).
Poverty, gender, ethnicity, and self-efficacy are the obstructions Latinas face when trying to
attain a high school diploma and then furthering their education and career opportunities. In
response to this data, research submits that
...minority and low income students (Latinas) who are given access to computer
technology have a better attitude towards school and a more positive self image.
Students who access said technology do better academically in school than
students who are not given access to computers (Kosakowski, 1998). These
factors could translate into lower drop out (sic) rates for minorities and low
income elementary and secondary school students (Pirofski).
Creating environments that offer material access to technology allows Latina students to
engage in their education at levels equal to those of their digital-divide counter parts.
Utilizing technology tools as a part of their learning experience, Latinas are given the
mental skills to rise above the challenges they face in school and then again in their adult
lives. ―As one teacher explained, ―get[ting Latinas] into the real world‖ is key to giving
them hope for the future and role models with whom they can identify...‖ (Listening to
It is critical to America’s social and economic welfare that this problem be remedied, particularly
because Latinas are the fastest growing group of female school-aged youth (NWLC).
Connecting with Technology and Media – A Cultural Perspective
Connecting Latinas with usage access to media, eLearning, and technology experiences
in their educational environments can be the key to Latina women advancing into career
opportunities they would not have thought possible. One aspect of connecting Latinas to
technology is the relevance of the media to the Latina experience. Closing the
technology gap includes designing educational technology applications that speak to the
interests and values Latina girls. This consideration should be made during the analysis
phase of any instructional design development. It is also imperative that designers reflect
on their own cultural experiences and how they affect the design process.
How we learn, how we talk and graph and walk and dance, what we
believe and what we value, are all both unique to us and to each occasion,
but also usually somehow typical of people who have led lives like ours:
people of our time and place, of our 'gender' 'class' and 'race' (though with
the serious caveats described below), of our own age, our customary
education and religious training, our mixture of cultural heritages, and all
the cultures of all the communities small and large in which we have lived
Without consideration of these cultural factors...
Such reinforcing factors contributing to the knowledge gap may also be
contributing to the racial divide on the Internet, in terms of both adoption and
usage. For instance, mass media coverage of the Internet is likely of greater
interest and relevancy to those who are already on the Internet and/or have family
and friends who are online than those who have not adopted. If we start with a
base rate of fewer minorities than whites using the Internet, then an information
gap may exist (and potentially widen) between the races in terms of how to
access, use and benefit from the Internet as mass media coverage of the Internet
increases (Listening to Latinas:...).
Advice for program planners, offered by Peter J. Patsula divulges:
If instruction is to have its highest learning impacts and to the most good for
students, instructional designers must be cognizant of the cultures of their learners
and how those cultures manifest themselves in learning preferences (Patsula).
Culture includes, ―...how people express themselves (including shows of emotion), the way they
think, how they move, how problems are solved,as well as economic and government systems
are put together,‖ (Parrish,...). In conjunction with technology in the classroom, the instruction
and media presented must honor the cultural values and learning style needed to interest young
Latinas who will then identify with, and in turn, use the technology.
Historically, Latina women have been stereotyped as low performing in academics, viewed as
super sexual, and deemed uninterested in furthering their life-long learning. Eliminating these
stereotypes from the media and replacing them with positive role models and sites that encourage
Latina women to explore possibilities outside of their communities is a way designers and
instructor can play vital roles in bridging the digital divide.
Utilizing Website and Online sources of learning can offer Latinas an avenue in which they can
associate the content with their individual and cultural needs; this is important to their successful
acculturation of educational media and technology. Research suggests that users fully engage in
content that they can identify with. The question for designers is what does this look like for
Latinas who come from culturally traditional, migrant, or poverty level environments?
There may also be fewer cross-channel references across media for those in the
minority, especially for those in lower socioeconomic segments. For instance,
schools, churches, local retailers or other community services in urban poor
neighborhoods may not have Web sites or use the Internet for communication.
Consequently, Internet content may seem remote or irrelevant to the personal
lives of the majority of urban poor (NWLC).
If students do not have technology access in their home or social settings then it is up to the
educational system to contribute the tools Latinas (and all students) need to interact with
technology. The possibilities of underprivileged Latinas using computers and becoming
computer literate more than likely takes place in their educational settings as opposed to their
homes. Because of this, it is imperative that all schools have equal access to educational
technology and media – and enough computers for all students to explore at regular intervals in
their classrooms or on personal projects. Instruction can be made more efficient when learners
engage in activities within a supportive environment and receive guidance mediated by
appropriate tools (Patsula comment on Vytgovski). It is critical to America’s social and
economic welfare that this problem (equity in education) be remedied, particularly because
Latinas are the fastest growing group of female school-aged youth (NWLC).
The Latino Family Dynamics: An Analysis of Cultural History, Causes and Interactions
Hispanic and Latino are both labels used to describe people who come from a variety of
countries and cultural backgrounds. According to Gonzalez and Gandara (2005) both Latin
Americans and Spaniards—like to call themselves "Latinos". ―Hispanic‖ is the official
designation of the United States Census used to track population changes or trends
(http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/archive/g1439/build/g1439.pdf). Hispanics or Latinos are
the latest and most recent group to enter the next so called "melting pot" in the United States as
they are the fastest growing minority in the United States (http://usa.usembassy.de/society-
hispanics.htm). This perception is mostly due to the media attention given to Hispanic groups in
the 1980's. People associated the growth with immigration, ignoring the long history of
Hispanics in the United States. Hispanic heritage in the U.S. goes back a long time. When
Plymouth was founded in 1620, Santa Fe was celebrating its first decade and St. Augustine its
55th anniversary. Spanish settlements developed in the southwest U.S. and also in the Gulf coast
and the Florida peninsula. Some Latinos can trace their ancestors back to those days.
Over the past 20 years there have been a growing number of immigrants from Latin American
countries to include Spain and its Spanish speaking islands of Mallorca, Minorca and Ibiza
migrating to the United States. The primary reasons for the influx of Latinos leaving their
countries and seeking a better life in the United States include political, social and economical.
According to Latino Eyes, a division of C and R Research Services (2006), currently, one out of
four children entering grade school is of Hispanic/Latin American decent. In 1950, fewer than
four million U.S. residents were from Spanish-speaking countries. Today that number is about 45
million. About 50 percent of Hispanics in the United States have origins in Mexico. The other 50
percent come from a variety of countries, including El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and
Colombia. Thirty-six percent of the Hispanics in the United States live in California. Several
other states have large Hispanic populations, including Texas, New York, Illinois, and Florida.
In Florida hundreds of thousands of Cubans fleeing the Castro regime have settled
predominantly in the Southeastern portion of the state with a large proponent in the Broward-
Dade Counties from Fort Lauderdale and south to Miami. There are so many Cuban Americans
in Miami that the Miami Herald, the city's largest newspaper, publishes separate editions in
English and Spanish. http://usa.usembassy.de/society-hispanics.htm. The following graphic
depicts where Hispanics or Latinos reside in the United States:
The term Hispanic was coined by the federal government in the 1970's to refer to the people who
were born in any of the Spanish-speaking countries of the Americas or those who could trace
their ancestry to Spain or former Spanish territories http://usa.usembassy.de/society-
hispanics.htm. This represents a wide variety of countries and ethnic groups with different
social, political and emotional experiences. Most Hispanics see themselves in terms of their
individual ethnic identity, as Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Peruvian, Ecuadorian,
Argentine, Chilean, and Brazilian etc instead of members of the larger, more ambiguous term
Hispanic or Latino (http://usa.usembassy.de/society-hispanics.htm).
According to Latino Eyes a division of C and R Research Services (2006) Latinos have deeply
embedded roots in family unity and perspective family roles as well as Catholicism. The father
figure is to be the sole provider for the family. The wife is predominantly to be the silent partner
and uphold the husband’s household rules or wishes. Family unity is also part of daily life.
Children of the family have also distinct roles. The male children should uphold or emulate
paternal behaviors while the daughters are to uphold and be molded by their mothers yet uphold
their father’s wishes in regards to family, marriage and children. The male children are
encouraged to take an active role in their education as they are to be future husbands, fathers and
household providers. The daughters are encouraged to place more value on becoming wives,
raising children and maintaining the household. Latinas often internalize this submissiveness
and are thus characterized as underachievers. Although education is emphasized for the
daughters, home and family life is highly encouraged. In regards to family unity, respect should
not go unmentioned. Respect is the basis of all family and social interaction. Respect for their
elders, family unity, language, religion, culture and food.
Access and Funding
Many factors contribute to the digital divide. There are language barriers and inequities in
socioeconomic status, along with differences in attitudes, cultural mores, priorities, and
geographic location. According to Latino Eyes, a division of C & R Research, Latinos are the
fastest growing population and the largest minority in US. In terms of our educational system,
one out of four students entering grade school are of Latin decent. Open education is striving to
overcome these factors and make education available, and accessible to everyone. Open
education is an important first step, but open does not automatically mean accessible (Lane,
2009). Low–income families cannot afford personal computers. Many school districts in low–
income locations cannot afford updates in technology. In an attempt to make technology
available to underprivileged minority groups, Antonia Stone opened Playing to Win in New
York City's Harlem in 1983, creating the first center providing public access to personal
computers in a low-income neighborhood. The center served more than 500 people each week,
including children whose local schools lacked enough computers, and adults seeking new
technology skills for the labor market.
Technology centers received funding from the National Science Foundation to expand their
influence. Now there are many technology centers around the US, and they have partnered with
other members to include not only stand-alone technology access centers but also large
community organizations like the National Urban League, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, and
public libraries. Major funding for hardware, software, and training from the Bill and Melinda
Gates Foundation have funded community technology centers in public libraries. Many other
programs have started to help bridge the digital divide. From the ThinkQuest program in
Massachusetts to the Plugged in Greenhouse program in Silicon Valley California. Innovation in
the form community technology centers and after school programs continues to meet the needs
of low-income communities (Sargent, 2002).
The Problem of Engaging Latina Girls – Gaming and Avatars
Having access to technology does not automatically mean there will be engagement. How can
the population of Latina girls be reached with technology? Researching and implementing ways
to engage students is having a systemic impact on education in the classroom and online.
There have been many programs started to address the issue of making technology engaging for
girls. The RAPUNSEL project developed a game world called Peeps, which is designed to
provide girls with opportunities to design parts of the game and, in the process, develop
computer-programming skills. Game-related quests and tutorials are designed to help players
learn programming concepts as they play the game. In the Peeps environment, all students play a
female character, which interacts with the inhabitants of the world by dancing with them.
Students create dances by using increasingly complex computer programming skills. Research
findings indicate that computer games designed with a focus on learning and literacy, such as
Peeps, may be ―able to influence motivation, self- efficacy, and self-esteem for populations of
students that have traditionally been ―turned away‖ from computer science-related fields‖ (Plass,
et. al. 2007).
Zoey’s Room is another program targeting girls. Behind the animated characters Zoey and her
Ecuadorian friend, Maya, are actual teens that serve as peer mentors to all members. One
challenge with a Latina focus, called ―Gimme Some Credit!‖ or ―Deme un Cierto Credito,‖
allows members to help Maya’s older sister figure out how to relieve credit card debt. ―The
founders of Zoey’s Room, Erin Reilly and Vinitha Nair, also created after school programs so
that middle school girls could have hands-on interaction with ideas from the Web site. So far, the
after school program is available in 113 locations in six Northeastern states‖ (Gonzales, 2009).
Students need to be challenged, not only entertained, when using computers to learn.
Video games are environments that allow for learning that enables students to acquire knowledge
that is personally meaningful, has real-world application, and that is associated with practice,
rather than rote memorization, games integrate ―knowing‖ with ―doing‖ (Plass et al, 2007).
According to Davis, it is effective to allow students to customize their online experiences by
letting them choose color backgrounds for the course interfaces, having them design avatars, or
virtual representations of themselves, to interact with content, and by letting them customize a
course setup to play to their preferences (Davis, 2009). Video games frequently allow players to
personalize their avatars and their environments which significantly increased intrinsic
motivation and learning outcomes for elementary school students ‖ (Plass et al, 2007).
Some educational programs are implementing Pedagogical Agents. According to Smith,
Pedagogical Agents can fill three roles:
As a facilitator, it helps direct the student through the learning environment in the manner
best suited to each individual. As a tutor, it promotes active learning by offering facilities
and exercises, which help the student, learn to teach her- or himself. As an advisor, it
displays some emotional responsiveness and problem solving capability (Smith, Affleck,
The use of these tools will impact our educational system in the very near future as they are
implemented more frequently in instructional designs. It is imperative that the education system
with all its tributaries reaches this growing people group. Their success and integration will
benefit society as a whole.
Implications for Professional Practice
Access to a computers and the internet is often the measurement of digital equity. ―More often
than not, access has been described narrowly as physical access – as living, working, or learning
in close physical proximity to these technologies (Gorski, 2008, p. 351). It doesn’t matter if the
connection is dial-up, the hardware is old, or how the computer is used. Bridging technical gaps
is insufficient if there is a failure to address the gaps in opportunity to use the technologies in
ways that empower people to participate more fully and equitably in society (Gorski, 2008, p.
352). These failures include inequitable access to the support needed to pursue educational and
professional interest in technology, affirming and non-hostile IT environments, and affirming
and non-hostile content (Gorski, 2008, p. 353). How are these failures being addressed in the
classroom and community for Latina girls?
Support and Encouragement to Pursue Technology Interests
Provide equal access to computers. Schedule time for every child to work with computer
programs either in regular classrooms or in specially designated computer classrooms (Cooper &
Weaver, 2003, p. 119). Attend to both boys and girls of all races equally. ―Because gender bias
in the classroom is almost always inadvertent, using self-rating scales and examining the
objective observations of others can help teachers respond with encouragement, enthusiasm, and
expectations to the boys and girls in their classrooms‖ (Cooper & Weaver, 2003, p. 120).
Another way to overcome stereotyping in the classroom includes the following suggestions:
1. Stress challenge over remediation. Give girls the same challenging work as boys.
2. Stress the expandability of IT ability. Girls need to know that their current abilities are
not the limit of what they can achieve.
3. Value multiple perspectives. There is more than one way to be successful at IT tasks.
4. Make relevant role models available (Cooper & Weaver, 2003, pp. 121-122).
Affirming and Non-hostile IT and Cyber-Cultures
―Nothing breeds a culture of greater distrust – than being rendered invisible. But this is what the
cultures surrounding computer and Internet technologies have done to already disenfranchised
groups in the United States. And it does not stop at race. These cultures, constructed by men and
for men, are at best unwelcoming to girls and women‖ (Gorski, 2008, p. 357). Tools that can
help facilitate a healthy environment for Latina girls who want to learn and engage in computers
and technology in the classroom include cooperative learning. Make boys and girls cooperate in
a problem-solving environment with a focus on teamwork and cooperation. Studies show that
cooperative strategies can be effective not only in facilitating learning, but also in increasing
feelings of inclusion and cooperation among diverse groups of students (Cooper & Weaver,
2003, p. 125).
Single-sex technology education is another increasingly popular solution. For example,
the Young Women’s Leadership School in Harlem, started in 1996, where 95% of the girls are
Black or Latina, has been a great success (Cooper & Weaver, 2003, p. 130). To bridge the digital
divide, single-sex classes help girls get up to speed on technology in a less-stressful environment.
Affirming and Non-hostile Content
Research shows that even when disenfranchised groups gain access to technologies, they
struggle to find content that doesn’t reinforce gender and racial stereotypes (Gorski, 2008, p.
358). Schools should choose software wisely, avoiding IT programs that rely on activities that
only boys prefer such as competitive activities and story lines containing sports, space, or war.
Similar to boys, girls like problem-solving games that require strategy and skill, but with life-like
characters and real-world situations. In addition, girls seem to be more interested in process than
progress – in exploration rather than racking up points (www.womensmedia.com/new/girls-tech-
By exposing Latinas to material, mental, skills, and usage access to technology, they are able to
experience a new identity – a transformation that will add to their self-efficacy and self-worth as
autonomous individuals; and yet, maintain their cultural values. Awareness of how technology
is used enables young Latina women to gain confidence and skill that they can continue to use in
their adult careers. Utilizing the web to explore brings the world to their finger tips; uncovering
a global realm of potential and expanding their realities.
Including the excluded in the empowerment brought by knowledge and skills is
the most effective approach to harnessing technologies in the interests of the poor.
The divide may never be fully closed, but where a bridge is to be spanned, it will
be constructed by active participants from both sides (Ryder).
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Current programs that support and empower Latina girls in learning and pursuing technological
interests are growing and include the following:
Latinitas – a non-profit organization that empowers Latina youth through media and technology
and provides a safe, health, and nurturing environment for Latina girls to express themselves.
They provide relevant and uplifting content through Latinitas Magazines, the first digital
magazines made for and by Latina youth. ( www.latinatismagazines.org)
Vida Digital Latina – an outreach program sponsored by Microsoft to help close the digital
divide and improve technology literacy through a series of programs that deliver free educational
sessions in several U.S. cities. (www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=64567)
Latinas Building Bridges in Education Conference (Boulder, Colo.) included seminars and
mentors that helped build expertise in technology.
Latinas in Computing – A group of Latina computer professionals who give Latinas support
while transitioning to work life. ―It was the conference calls that intimidated me,‖ says Dr. Claris
Castillo, a founding member. ―In the beginning, I could hardly talk on the phone.‖ The group
members also mentor young Latina girls who show an interest in technology.
Latina en Ciencia – Through a grant from National Science Foundation, the Oregon Museum of
Science and Industry launched ths program, designed to forge ties with Portland's growing
Latino community. Proposed programs include:
Expanding Club Ciencia, a science and technology club for Latina girls in grades 3-5,
held at Villas de Clara Vista, a North Portland housing center.
Establishing a science and technology class for girls at an elementary school in Tigred, a
suburb of Portland.
Beginning an after-school science and technology club for girls in White Salmon, a rural
community in Washington State.
Organizing a museum camp-in for Latina girls and female mentors from around the
Portland community. (www.edutopia.org/making-science-technology-real-girls)
Techbridge was launched by Chabot Space & Science Center to encourage girls in technology,
science and engineering. Techbridge offers after-school and summer programs with hands-on
projects, career exploration opportunities, and academic and career guidance.
TechGYRLS® -- a highly nation-wide YWCA after-school empowerment program that provides
girls ages 5-14 with the opportunities to increase their skills and confidence in the use of
technology and in engineering. TechGYRLS® was developed by the YWCA USA in 1997 after
seeing the need to strengthen girls’ interest and competency in computer literacy as it has
become a key job skill in nearly every profession today. The goal of TechGYRLS® is to provide
technology education in a supportive, all-girl environment where girls feel comfortable taking
risks and opening up to new learning opportunities.