Teresa Brazen, from Adaptive Path, wrote a useful post about Explaining User Experience Design to High Schoolers (and other new audiences). In the US, we have lower rates of students deciding to pursue careers in technology-related fields, and among teen girls, the numbers are quite low. For example,
I've promised to give a little presentation to high school computer students about human-computer interaction and user experience design, with an eye on emerging technologies. I found Teresa's suggestions quite helpful. For a 15-year-old student, these technologies will be the tools of their work, should they decide to go forward with technology-related studies after high school. For anyone thinking about speaking to a group of high school students, Teresa brings up a few good points:
"The thing about high school kids is they won’t pretend to be interested if you’ve lost them. Adults at a conference will gaze forward in your general direction, but high school kids will just put their head on the table and go to sleep. If you ever want to get a real gauge of how interesting a speaker you are (or how well you’re really communicating), I highly recommend it, humbling as it is."
Any high school teacher will confirm that this is true.
Teresa links to a post on Ben Chun's "And Yet It Moves: Adventures in Teaching and Technology" blog, which is worth reading. Ben teaches at Galileao Academy of Science and Technology, within the Academy of Information Technology. He also teachers AP Computer Science. Prior to teaching technology, he taught math for two years. He has good insights to share.
Ring, S. (2007) Tech gURLS: Closing the Technological Gender Gap
National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT)
Alvarado, C., Dodds, Z. Women in CS: An Evaluation of Three Promising Practices. In Proceedings of SIGCSE 2010 ACM Press.