Women and Science: Opportunity in a Changing Landscape
National Symposium at Bryn Mawr College
26-27 October 2001

Workshop Summary

Workshop Topic:

How can schools and colleges use new learning technologies to advance science interest and education among young women? How deal with key entry/persistance points, such as middle school?

Workshop convenors:


More than twenty people participated in the two day discussion. These included people actively involved in the creation and dissemination of new learning technologies, people using such technologies at college and precollege levels, additional educators interested in using such technology, and parents concerned about finding ways to enhance science education for their children.

Discussion Summary:

The ongoing development of new learning technologies was generally seen as a promising avenue for advancing science interest and education among young women. While early, probably necessary, evolutionary phases of this development largely replicated traditional pedagogical styles, there is an increasing movement toward materials which engage students in individualized ways in interactive learning experiences that stress learning by doing and make available a remarkably rich array of materials, experiences, and techniques. These seem likely to contribute to a broad rethinking of the presentation of science in a way that will better engage and maintain interest in science among young women at all educational levels (see Workshop Prospectus and Workshop First Session Notes, for additional details).

While there is substantial promise and activity in the development of new learning technologies, this is, at the moment, largely occuring in relatively isolated ways. It would be advantageous both to the creators of such materials and to those interested in making use of them to have a central and continually updated directory of information about ongoing developments. Such a directory could serve as well to provide critical analyses of existing materials as well as of the general direction of ongoing development (see Workshop Prospectus and Workshop First Session Notes, for additional details).

One area where there seems already to be a need for critical analysis of ongoing developments in the development of new learning technologies relates to the issue of "learning styles" and possible population differences between females and males in the kinds of experiences they find engaging. A major challenge and opportunity is the creation of materials which appeal to a variety of learning styles and, in so doing, assure that the potential of new learning technologies to engage young women is fulfilled (see Workshop First Session Notes and Workshop Second Session Notes, for additional details).

Recommendations/Action Items:

Go to Workshop Prospectus
Go to Workshop First Session Notes
Go to Wor,shop Second Session Notes