Biology Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures

Title

The potential of socio-biologically relevant mobile apps to attract girls to STEM

Event Name/Location

Florida Distance Learning Association 2019 Annual Conference - Venture Higher: Expanding the Possibilities of Distance Learning

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date

1-31-2019

Abstract

STEM is more than an acronym for studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It emphasizes a blurring of boundaries among these disciplines by focusing on real-world and designed-world issues. Research shows that girls are attracted to STEM if the content is socio-biologically meaningful in their lives. In this strategy, world-wide prevalence of the mobile phone and increasingly cost-effective mobile technology are capitalized show the centrality of STEM in dealing with practical problems such as global warming and sustainability as well as in addressing female biological concerns like teen pregnancy and menstruation. Appropriate mobile apps can provide girls with hands-on experience that could potentially stimulate or even enhance their interest in STEM and prepare them for STEM-related programs and careers. Relevant examples are presented below.

Earth Now is a three-dimensional, free mobile app developed by NASA. It displays real-time satellite data on global climate change in terms of variations in atmospheric carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, water vapor, surface air temperature and sea-level.

Offset, one of NASA’s latest educational games, engages the player in finding ways of reducing global warming caused by the carbon cycle or carbon sources, using reforestation and alternative energy sources to decrease carbon emissions.

Girl Talk is a mobile app that creates awareness among teenage girls about aspects of their anatomy, physiology, sexuality, physical relationships and measures of protection from sexually transmitted infections.

The Natural Cycles mobile app indicates if a woman is fertile on a particular day, based on her body temperature in the morning. For a girl with a regular 28-day reproductive cycle, it can warn against intercourse on days when she is fertile and days when she can enjoy safe, unprotected sex. The app can help one understand the science of menstrual cycle, reproduction and birth control. These could be used to empower young girls with diverse knowledge to take informed decisions.

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