Digital Smarts - Maker Spaces May Have a Gender Bias

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Makerspaces, also called hackerspaces, hackspaces, and fablabs, are collaborative spaces where young people gather to get creative with DIY projects, invent new ones, and share ideas. They are popping up school campuses, at local museums and libraries and in other non-traditional education spaces in support of STEM. Many offer community resources like 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies, and more.

Despite the exciting potential these spaces bring, a lack of focus around culture and gender inclusiveness is stunting the movement’s true promise, a new report out of Drexel University reports. Researchers found a widespread gender bias, reporting there may be a tendency in makerspaces to view male students as more tech-savvy and that male students were more than twice as likely to have leadership roles and direct projects. This possible bias is definitely something to be aware of if your child- male or female – is participating in one of these projects.