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Author Topic: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?  (Read 7787 times)
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I think many of the ideas you guys are offering for "girl products" are still a tick too complex and techy. I think, if I would want to get a young girl started with electronics I would start without an arduino, but just getting her familiar with simple circuits. I think the perfect starting product would be lady ada's minty boost.

http://www.ladyada.net/make/mintyboost/

If I where to design new gadgets for girls, I would start from there - analyze why this was succesfull and create something with similar proporties. We see here, the usefullness of this itam is very obvious and direct, while the complexety of the design is low and very basic. Also, the overall design is smart and appealing.

p.
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But the issue is that as a project to do - I wouldn't have thought it would be particularly appealing to girls - and teaching them how simple circuits work also need to be done in a way that's interesting. We're talking about trying to get non-geeky girls interested - I can see a geeky girl learning about this but that's not the point.
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Look at the average - stereotype boy getting interested in electronics: Either they soaks it up from his environment where their parents / elder siblings play around with electronics or they fail to succeed at more popular topics like sports, so they choose a domain where the bullies won't go (because of the lack of status) or where they have a better chance at succeeding.

And make things even worse, people working in electronics aren't in most cases really the glamorous type, they have a bigger chance of being the misfit-type or the introverted type. In short, there are many people who spend a lot of time with their gadgets to succeed, which is time not spent with other people. This reduces the attraction of electronics (and similar solitary subjects) even further.

Now the big question: What does electronics offer to a girl? In most cases they already have easier areas to retreat to to get away or need it less.

From what I've seen, initiatives not providing at least some answer to this question don't really achieve much.

Korman
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I think many of the ideas you guys are offering for "girl products" are still a tick too complex and techy. I think, if I would want to get a young girl started with electronics I would start without an arduino, but just getting her familiar with simple circuits. I think the perfect starting product would be lady ada's minty boost.

http://www.ladyada.net/make/mintyboost/

If I where to design new gadgets for girls, I would start from there - analyze why this was succesfull and create something with similar proporties. We see here, the usefullness of this itam is very obvious and direct, while the complexety of the design is low and very basic. Also, the overall design is smart and appealing.

p.


That is a nice thing for USB people of all ages and sexes to carry. Not geeky-looking at all but geeky within. But how would a kid (boy or girl) be made interested in electronics from using this product? Maybe this is a new lead: making cooling things with non-so-geeky appearances. Then the users will be interested in exploring more tech stuff.
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Look at the average - stereotype boy getting interested in electronics: Either they soaks it up from his environment where their parents / elder siblings play around with electronics or they fail to succeed at more popular topics like sports, so they choose a domain where the bullies won't go (because of the lack of status) or where they have a better chance at succeeding.

And make things even worse, people working in electronics aren't in most cases really the glamorous type, they have a bigger chance of being the misfit-type or the introverted type. In short, there are many people who spend a lot of time with their gadgets to succeed, which is time not spent with other people. This reduces the attraction of electronics (and similar solitary subjects) even further.

Now the big question: What does electronics offer to a girl? In most cases they already have easier areas to retreat to to get away or need it less.

From what I've seen, initiatives not providing at least some answer to this question don't really achieve much.

Korman

Korman,
You made me  smiley-cry
I wish I was popular in high school  smiley-cry smiley-cry smiley-cry
Actually I was OK at least within my circle of friends but I can definitely see lots of young boys in your described stereotype. So they do electronics because they need some success they don't get from their muscles. Time for building exo-skeletal armors to interest them more? smiley-mr-green It's another good lead to be honest.
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@liudr

I think your reaction to fkeel might be a bit too fast, let me explain. I see two things: the message and the form of the message. The form is what "triggered" you, without paying enough attention to his message. The form is just the carrier of the message and I have learned (as requirements engineer) to look through that. It is the difference between HOW people say WHAT they mean. So lets just focus on the message.

The message of fkeel is : "listen to the people you want to reach by looking at their context". Similar statements are made earlier in this thread an it means that (other recent post) if you want to reach girls in the age 12-15 you must understand about what in their context/mindset is important. Think everyone will agree on that as it is basic marketing - excuses for using the M word on a tech forum smiley-wink

The discussion should focus on how to reach them (boys and girls). The answer comes also from marketing (did it again smiley-wink and the word is seduction. The (not allways educative) power of commercials. If you can get a "I want that too" feeling, people go far to reach their goal. Seduction is about showing end-results, called products, and their benefits. A technique I often used to gather requirements was the persona. - read the book: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, Alan Cooper -. Basically you describe a fictive customer in as much detail as possible and that person is the archetype for your whole customergroup. We often used 2-6 in projects, archetype per role.

<example persona>
...


Sorry for the blunt reply. I will settle this with PMs.

You've painted a good picture. First of all, I really don't want to sell anything here, I have no arduino starter kits or products. I was collecting input to a possible grant to engage high school kits. I think you gave me a perfect one:

This following project was inspired by the original Mikal Hart's reverse-geocaching box:

http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,49937.0.html

I intended to build a geocaching treasure box that demands certain secret protocol to open: You take the box, which has 6 sides, each representing a number 1-6, then you knock on the side of the box that faces up to input the secret code. Say if you have 342516, then you first face side 3 up and knock on the box to enter 3, then face side 4 up and knock. I did a test and fell in love with inputting with audio feedback in tones so I ended up making a music box.

A girl wants to keep secrets, she can make such a box, upon secretly rotating the box and knock it in a non obvious way, she can open it. That might be a good project for high school girls. What do yo think?
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If you have a example to show them (with enough bling bling on it and painted pink smiley it will work I guess .
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If you have a example to show them (with enough bling bling on it and painted pink smiley it will work I guess .

A store (TJMaxx) has some painted boxes that look too nice for a geocaching box subject to elements of the nature but should be good as an example for indoor use. I'll have that on my list to purchase. It's around $16, a lot if you buy electronics components. I was trying to get an art professor to work on the music box but failed. They're really good at making things attractive I wish to work with them in the future.
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Artists, technicians and craftsmen together performed magic in all centuries smiley
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, and I derive formulas on white board mathemagically (to some of my students). Maybe if I do this secret box project right, I can develop some artistic brain cells that I need. My projects are fine in intellectual merits but lack of artistic features.
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Learn to use the golden ratio and that kind of "tech facts" from arts and you've made a first step, the math of music (harmonics) is a good second. Apply this 'knowledge" to forms and people will unconciously recognize it (and the chance they appreciate it will rise smiley 

Once read a story that some people climb a mountain with pen and paper and draw the view they have and throw away the painting. They will have a far more vivid image of the view than those who take a picture.

Remenber the verb "that what you give your energy to, will grow"
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Just $50 is enough for the kids education?
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Just $50 is enough for the kids education?
Well that's one of the things about arduino, $50 would be enough for the first week or so smiley-grin
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I wish to go to high schools to demonstrate to those kids what science and engineering is about and there are very interesting topics but to make an impression to girls around age 12-15 I need girl presenters. I was presenting at a women engineering on campus event for that age range girls but after almost a full day of presenting, only less than 10 showed up. The campus organizers didn't do their work and I consider it was wasting my time to present three sessions to an average of 3 girls each session for 1 hours each.

Hell, I'm a guy. How should I blame them for only sending out registration forms to high schools? They should personally go the the high schools, show pictures of the past event and encourage more girls to come. You can't magically convert a bunch of girls from loving what society tells them to do as young girls into liking science-engineering subjects.

That s*cks, especially at an engineering event !
I... guess the overload of work in education is to blame a lot. I've seen quite a number of things fail, even pretty basic ones as keeping safety in mind at school because of the amounts of work. I for example was often the only one (of three) with safety papers while we should have 14 on a school with 350 kids.
I'll spare you the excuses I've heard from teachers while talking to them about safety. If there were times I wanted to blame people/things, I'd pick those... smiley-evil

I hope you keep in mind, even with a group that small, that you may have planted a seed, whether they become die-hard "arduino-addicts" or do something completely different with it.

Basically you describe a fictive customer in as much detail as possible and that person is the archetype for your whole customergroup. We often used 2-6 in projects, archetype per role.

<example persona>
A minimal persona: archetype Girl, 13 year
- Linda, has one older brother Jason...... [Got a picture?] 

How can we seduce Linda for technique? What would she like to have to make her live happier?

Ok from the persona profile I can think of the following product concepts (that might include Arduino tech)

- A detection system that shows that her sister Kate was in her room. Actually it shows if anyone was in her room. Better if someone is now in my room !
- RFID tags in make-up to end discussion about "that is my lipstick Kate",
- A detection system that warns when Jason is around,
- A handbag she will never forget,
- A something thingy to share secret messages with her friends,
- A diary that only she can open ("Mom, that stupid Kate got my diary!!!")
- ...
(think you allready have ideas how to make these)
</example>

I hadn't thought of it that way, I probably would be the worst guy promoting stuff, but I think it has a lot of potential !

As Liudr pointed out a Female instructor would probably make it lots easier, another thing would be to find a complete line of teaching material from simple to intermediate. Once they know the basics and have successfully built intermediate stuff I guess boys&girls will realise they can build stuff completely by them selves.

All interesting ideas here.

Quote
female -> lillypad -> Leds on clothing
I personally think this is a poor idea that people seem to have.
Yep, I even felt pretty small-minded when I wrote it down.
I taught my neighbour how to operate a sowing-machine while she... has taught me how to weld by the way, but at the time of writing I didn't have a clue where to find ideas.

Girls of a young(ish) age (as said above) I can see being much more interested 'secret stuff', things that tell them something, hide something etc. As for specific projects, that's a hard one.

I started this:
http://collabedit.com/7cr9k
Feel free to change stuff around - lets see what people come up with. Stick your name in top right.

Great !

A relative simple one we probably all know here could be the RGB-moodlight. Even without secrecy- gadgets it's quite magical.
Another would be a secret doorbell, but too much secret stuff might also be too much.


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Quote
RGB-moodlight
The name is far too technical , it should be called ...ehh.... think think ......!   A fairy Light!!   

// what is the illusion you want your customers to have?
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