Surprising Possibilities Imagined and Realized through Information Technology (SPIRIT2)
Surprising Possibilities Imagined and Realized through Information Technology (SPIRIT) encourages women to pursue computer-related careers so as to provide a better gender balance in the Information Technology (IT) workplace. The SPIRIT project provides seventy-five high school teachers with professional development experiences using Alice, a programming tool that enhances STEM instruction while simultaneously demonstrating appealing aspects of IT. The teachers, along with 45 counselors and 225 students, also learn about a wide range of career options in IT. Before leaving the institute, the teachers develop a plan for using Alice-based lessons in their classrooms during the school year. The SPIRIT team serves as a resource to the teachers throughout the school year as they use Alice to support classroom instruction. It is expected that the Alice interventions will increase the interest level of the students, both for STEM subject areas as well as for IT. The summative evaluation plan is designed to determine if this expectation is met.