056 – Girls, Policy, and Technology with Julia Fallon

056 – Girls, Policy, and Technology with Julia Fallon

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[In This Episode][Guest Bio][Additional Notes][Text Transcript]

In This Episode

Are we overlooking some of our best technical talent through subtle discrimination?  What is the best way to have influence over the public policy that influences you?  Exactly how straight or winding is the path to career success?  Join us as we discuss these big issues on today’s podcast.

This is the podcast where we talk innovation.  Today’s guest is working to influence educational technology in Washington state.  We delve in pretty deep to civic responsibility from the perspective of education as well as having girls in science, technology, engineering, and math.  Which reminds me of a quote I saw the other day on a t-shirt:

Some girls like to chase boys.  I just like to pass them!

Experience has taught me that girls in our inventor classes do NOT solve problems the same way that the boys do.  However, do NOT take that to mean girls solve problems in some inferior or superior way.  They just do it differently.

Unfortunately, because of the stigma, socialization, and other factors, only about 40% of the students in our teen inventor classes are female.  This asymmetry has been discussed and dissected in many articles and books, but the fact remains that if we want more girls in STEM subjects, we need parents, friends, and teachers to encourage every girl they know to explore their technology interests because there is some force in society or perhaps buried deep in our lizard brain from the past that pushes girls aside when they begin to excel in technology.

However it does not have to be that way.  Let me tell you a short story.  Amy, Elizabeth, and Charity–not their real names–were students in our inventing camp this summer.  Their job was to build an asteroid lander to safely deposit a probe to the surface.  These 5th and 6th grade girls built the fuzziest, cutest, most awesome probe.  It had a lamb and motors and microprocessors and conductance sensors and it was beautiful precision in motion.

In the same class, Maddie discovered computer programming and decided on the spot that she had to have programming in whatever job she chose because in her words, “Programming is so much fun!”  We believe that every girl should have the opportunity to find out if she likes technology and to receive all the encouragement she needs to succeed at it.  To find out more about getting your girls involved in technology, visit InventingZone.com to learn more.

Our guest today discovered in college that she loved computing and technology after getting politely pushed in other directions in high school.  Julia Fallon is working with Educational Technology and Teaching Excellence in Washington state.  She has a heart for helping students reach their full potential and for successful integration of technology into classrooms.  Let’s find out more about Julia’s story.

About Julia

JuliaFallonSummer2013I am a technology and learning alchemist. I explore and interrogate the big ideas in K-12 education with tech integration – how to make sure all kids acquire the skills to participate in a digital society, and what is the collective and creative impact of thriving online communities. Involved with learning technologies since 1989, I am an avid proponent of dynamic 21st century learning experiences where highly effective instructional strategies integrate a wide range of digital technologies.

I work for Washington’s K-12 education agency, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. As the state’s Technology Integration Manager, I streamlined strategic planning for districts moving large- and small-scale technology projects forward,
championed robust PD programming for educators facing a brave new world of 1-to-1 initiatives, and spoken out for smart, flexible network policy that connects teachers and kids to a wider world of collaborative learning and dynamic scholarship.

In my free time, I run the Crazy Idea Factory™ and live inside John Pederson’s head.

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What is the Purpose of an Education?

“For me personally, I take the Jeffersonian perspective on the purpose of an education.  It is about informing the citizenry so they can make informed decisions.  If you disagree with me about certain things that’s great.  I just want you to be informed about it.” Julia Fallon

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Julia‘s Favorite Quote

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is
before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out
to meet it.”

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 Something Julia has made recently:

I made my bed this morning.

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Something Julia has learned recently:

image1I recently learned how to strip and refinish vinyl composite flooring tiles. Internet, FTW!


Additional Notes



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Full Text Transcript – Coming Soon!

“Everyone has a role at the perch that they’re on.  Don’t just sit back and let things happen to you.  Try to understand where you are in the whole ecosystem.  You can effect change at the local level.” —Julia Fallon

“I think they [school boards] do want to hear what parents have to say.  In my experience when talking to districts, they feel like they don’t get enough student and parent voice.”  —Julia Fallon

“Find your perch, and then make or effect change from your perch.”  —Julia Fallon

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