AED Uses Social Media to Prove that Science Is 'A Girl Thing'

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Michelle Galley
202-464-3790
mgalley@aed.org

AED Uses Social Media to Prove that Science Is 'A Girl Thing'.

Washington, D.C., April 13, 2009 – A new AED initiative is harnessing the power of social media to connect with parents, and educators about how to foster girls’ interest in science and technology, and why that is important.

The program, “Science: It’s a Girl Thing,” offers web-based and easy-to-use resources for conducting science activities at home. It will post regular updates, comments, videos, and links to materials on its Facebook page and other websites, which will add interactive and dynamic features to the lessons.

Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, the program targets people who blog and use other social media—such as Twitter and Facebook—to find and share information.

“We’ve based the design of this initiative on what worked in the past, namely our classroom-based program that provided science lessons to Pre-K through 3rd grade students,” said Merle Froschl, co-director of the Educational Equity Center at AED, which is developing “Science: It’s a Girl Thing.” “Now we’re adapting that model for dissemination over the Web, which will reach a far wider audience.”

That original program, she added, was named a Promising Gender Equity Program by the U.S. Department of Education in 2000, and focused on boosting parent involvement.

“Parents are crucial to developing girls’ interest in STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—professions,” said Barbara Sprung, co-director of the Educational Equity Center at AED. She noted that according to a 2007 report from the National Science Foundation, women are still vastly underrepresented in the STEM professions, and that as of 2004, women accounted for only 22 percent of all engineering graduate students.

"Science: It’s a Girl Thing” can be explored at http://facebook.dj/scienceitsagirlthing. The material will also be available on the Educational Equity Center at AED website at, www.edequity.org/sigt.

ABOUT EEC: The Educational Equity Center at AED is an outgrowth of Educational Equity Concepts, a national, nonprofit organization with a 22-year history of addressing educational excellence for all children regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, disability and level of family income.

ABOUT AED: AED is a nonprofit organization that works globally to improve education, health, civil society and economic development—the foundation of thriving societies. Focusing on the underserved, AED implements more than 250 programs serving people in all 50 U.S. states and more than 150 countries (www.aed.org).