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Research Notes November 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — LC @ 8:10 pm

My current notes on research concerning gender & the digital divide:

Notes from diff articles

 

1. Varma: pre-college experiences with computers; finds significant differences in how students develop interests in computers; exposure to computers at home, availability of computers in hs, hs prep for college study in computers

Themes/quotes:

  • Lack of early access to computers and information tech has been seen as a deterrent for women (38)
  • Early career interests in computer related fields can be grouped into 3 areas: bias in socialization, structural barriers, lack of proficiency in STEM fields
  • Boys playing video games end up feeling comfortable with computers—designed with boy interests in mind (39)
  • Significant gender differences among students on early exposure to computers ( varma 41)
  • Boys have instinctive interest to “tinker” with computers (42)
  • Access to computers in home-44
  • Females had late exposure to computers both in home and at schools; females were not influenced towards computers in hs (varma)
  • Social & institutional contexts matter

 

2. Cooper: Females are disadvantaged relative to men when learning about computers or learning other material; fundamentally a problem of computer anxiety whose roots are deep in the socialization patterns of b & g

  • Women are under-represented in use & ownership of computers, women take fewer computer classes in hs, less likely to graduate with IT degrees (cooper 321)
  • Social stereotype that links technology & gender creates the atmosphere that permits the digital divide to continue (322)
  • Video games: competitive nature of games—reflect male game play. This is then incorporated into the classroom to make “learning fun”—disenfranchises girls. Result for girls: lowered interest, negative attitudes, lowered performance, and computer anxiety (323)
  • Context matters: social context matters when the gender composition of the groups is considered—same sex groupings work better (324) in mixed gender groups girls had their competence criticized (cooper)
  • Those who write the software are males (cooper 325)
  • Selffulling prophecy of stereotypes-329
  • No innate differences bw boys & girls in ability to use the computer/girls socialization into computers in a world where stereotypes exist—leads to computer anxiety, leads to negative attitudes, which affects their willingness to approach computers-321
  • “The negative impact of gender stereotypes on computer anxiety and computer attitudes has a recursive effect that feeds and nourishes the negative gender stereotypes”-321

 

3. Kirmani: roots of gender inequalities are based in environmental factors from a young age. Social orientation & the role of media and instructional materials that contribute to these differences—results: differences in use of computers for work & play and in social interactions in and around computers

  • types of toys & play activities children are exposed to further help to embed gender specific choices (17)
  • children observe women in lower level computer work (kirmani 17)
  • differences in how they use computers: women for maintaining relationships, men use for career enhancement, game play (18)
  • the familiarity of gadgets leads men to approach computers as toys—more willing to tinker, explore, construct
  • strategies to reduce bias: give females more time to explore, single gendered groups, enhance female role models,

 

4. Broos: results show postitive relationship bw ICT experiences and ICT attitudes; more computer experience—less anxiety; differs for males and females though

  • computer experience has a direct positive relationship with computer attitudes (23)
  • experience: more men than women (25)
  • women more computer anxious than men and have more negative attitudes (25)
  • period of time using a computer correlated positively with computer attitudes(26)
  • positive relationship bw the extent of computer use, self-perceived computer experience, and computer anxiety attitudes(27)
  • impact of computer experience is different for males and females—for males prior computer use shows less computer anxiety; for females the diminution of computer anxiety starts at a later stage of computer use and the effect of the period of computer use on computer anxiety takes longer. For women computer anxiety only diminishes noticeably when they have been using a computer for a year (27)
  • for females no difference bw those who perceive themselves ahead and those who perceive themselves behind—not much effect on anxiety (27)

 

5. Colley & Comber: some evidence of a reduced gender gap; yet boys still like computers more, more confident, use during school & for game play. Older girls have the least positive attitudes—possibly due to cultural pressures and gender stereotyping—increased exposure has not closed the gap

  • internet & widespread use email has failed to impact dramatically female attitudes; despite being “female friendly” (156)
  • enhancing access to computers does not solve the problem (157)
  • more boys than girls had access to computers; more b than g had access to gaming computers, ; more boys than girls were considered the “owner” of computer—both had them in homes (159)
  • boys were more self confident with computers, liked them more, rated themselves higher than girls on computing ability (161)
  • gender differences found for music technology & computer games
  • no differences for word processing, graphics (162)
  • increased participation in particular application areas have improved, but computer attitude results sow relatively little evidence of change (163)

 

6. Atkinson: there are differences in how well a student may learn and perform in different teaching situations and that these differences are more marked for pupils of a certain cognitive styles and gender. CAL: Computer Aided Learning

  • boys are behind girls in terms of achievement when they first enter formal education, girls make greater progress bw the ages of 11-16, although girls opt out of math & science careers—they do match boys in terms of achievement (662)
  • girls were more accepting of computer aided learning (668)
  • no significant difference bw CAL and cognitive styles (669)
  • verbalisers achieving the highest mean score and analytics the lowest (670)
  • in CAL environment girls were shown to have a more positive attitude and to have benefited more from the materials (675)
  • girls outperformed the boys in the cal environment (675)

 

7. Anderson: research shows that senior hs girls tend to perceive advanced computing subjects as boring and they express a strong aversion to computers

  • 5 factors that dissuade females: ICT subjects are negative & nerdy, male bias in software, females feel inferior & dominated by males, lack of role models, poor knowledge of ICT as a subject (1306)
  • Girls did not associate ICT subjects with their future careers (1312)
  • It was not statsiticallly significant that males were involved (1312)
  • There are other paths to ICT careers beyond classes—game play (1313)
  • 2 factors associated with aversion toward formal subject pathways: perception that the subjects were boring & an aversion to computers (1314)

 

8.  Baloglu: investigates the multivariate effects of gender, ownership, and frequency of use on computer anxiety levels. Affective anxiety, damaging anxiety, and learning anxiety

  • computer anxiety has been conceptualized as a multi-dimensional construct including psychological, operational, and sociological components (2640)
  • clear associations bw ownership & frequency of computer use (2642)
  • girls did have higher levels of anxiety compared to boys (2646)
  • those who own a pc—less computer anxiety (2646)

 

9. Gender gap remains the widest in relation to programming and software design.  Web developers have applied feminist theories to create content for girls that might increase their interest in computers. Includes: appealing to traditional feminine interests, nontraditional masculine interests, and gender neutral interests. This study proposes to integrate appeals to girls traditional and nontraditional interests—and focus content mor clearly on learning about computer design itself

Lynn, K.M, Raphael, C., Olefsky, K., & Bache, C.M. (2003). Bridging the

gender gap in computing: An integrative approach to content design

for girls . Journal of Educational Computing Research,

28(2), 143-162.

  • Higher ed, employment, life chances increasingly depend on one’s computer skills (144) These factors contribute to the dramatic and persistent gender imbalances in employment in technical fields
  • Men & women entering college now report that they use computers frequently and in equal numbers.  It differs though in how they use it—women use it more as a tool to accomplish tasks rather than an object of interest (144)
  • Gender gap involves more than just the amount of time spent on the computer—but how they use said technology (144)
  • Study explores one means of closing the gender gap: designing content (games, edusoftware, and websites) aimed at increasing girls understanding of the relevance of computers to many aspects of their lives, as well as their self-confidence  and interest in using computers (144)
  • Lack of suitable content for girls is often sited as a cause of the gap: early experiences tinkering with computers, games, etc builds familiarity and confidence in skills. These games fail to attract girls bc they are designed primarily for a male market, employing combat and sports themes and lacking female characters (145)
  • Internet attracts females interest in communcation, information, & collaboration (145)
  • Rather than force girls into male dominated norms about computers; the culture of computing needs to adapt to the needs of females. Secondly, efforts should be focused on addressing females’ lesser confidence and interest in these aspects of computing so that women can take their place as not just a consumer, but as a designer, leader, and shaper (147)
  • As computers become easier to hide in toys & other objects, playing with them may paradoxically become less relevant to building technical skills and confidence with something that is recognizably a computer.  If the gender gap is now more about programming and design, then content for girls may need to focus more on demonstrating the relevance and interest of these activities if it hopes to further progress toward equity (150)
  • Motivation to use computers, interest in computers, & perceived relevance of computers (155)
  • Results show that integrgating appeals to traditional and nontraditional feminine interests, and demonstrating how computers are linked to both, can influence girls to have a more positive orientation toward computers than they do now. Interest shown in both motivation to use computers, but also in programming and design (157)
  • Future testing: traditional, nontradtinal, gender neutral, and integrative

 

10. spatial ability differences in relation to gender & the digital divide

  • Computer gaming adds to spatial performance 433
  • Men test better spatially & have more spatial experience 434
  • Increasing #s of computer facilitation (Related to both business & personal use) are deepening the economic and educational rift bw those who use computers regularly and those who do not or cannot 434
  • Motivation factors may underlie differences in spatial/cmputer experience. Men & women use computers for different tasks—which fosters differential skills
Terlecki, M.S., & Newcombe, N.S. (2005). How important is the digital
   
     divide? The relation of computer and videogame usage to gender
   
     differences in mental rotation ability. Sex Roles, 53(5/6),
   
     433-441. doi:10.1007/s11199-005-6765-0

11. Gendering the Digital Divide: kennedy, wellman, klement. Compare women’s internet use with men—use more for social reasons & men use for instrumental & solo rec reasons

  • Not simply just an issue of access—but of obstacles to internet use 73
  • Differences bw gender & sex—gender is more than just  anatomy & physiology—accompanying social behaviors 74
  • Historically women were assigned to clerical work which focused primarily on information processing via computers 76
  • Sense of community; internet adds to community rather than destroying it 81; volume of interactions increase. Women have more postive experiences with internet communication—consistent with the argument that women actively work harder than men to maintain kin
  • Gender differences fit women’s classical roles as maintainers of kinship & friendship 80
  • Men use web for: work, product info, buy products, money ,finances, games/women: only difference lies in the nurturing role and finding health info  85
  • Data shows internet differences in: communcation, information, & recreation 87
  • Gender responsibilities in the home shape how much time women spend online
  • Internet has become more embedded in how people carry out all aspects of their lives from work to socializing to shopping—no distinction bw virtual world & real world 89

 

12. Gender and the Internet/Jackson, Ervin, Gardner—mediators of gender differences in internet use revealed that computer self-efficacy, loneliness, and depression accounted in part for gender differences

  • Interpersonal communication drives the average person’s use of the internet
  • Females use email more than males—males use more web 372
  • Females report more computer anxiety/males more computer self-efficacy (372)
  • Females reported more depression/males more lonliness 372
  • Research suggests that females communication w/ friends and family via email lessens their lonilness compared to males 385

 

13. Digital Divide & Ed Tech

  • Equality in access is different from equality in opportunity
  • Girls are steered away from tech careers as early as elementary school through school culture, classroom climate, traditional gender roles, and other societal pressures, and video games!
  • 7% of all bachelors level engineering degrees were conferred to women & only 20 % of all information technology professionals were women
  • equality in access rates show a step forward, yet do not show an end to the digital divide
    • social, cultural, political factors
    • broden access to mean beyond physical acess to computers—acccess to support and encouragment to pursue and value tech related fields—educationally & professionally
 

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