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Sex-related differences in attitudes toward computers at the grade 4 level Klassen, Wendy 1985

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SEX-RELATED DIFFERENCES IN ATTITUDES TOWARD COMPUTERS AT THE GRADE 4 LEVEL by Wendy Lynn K l a s s e n B.Ed., U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 1977  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department o f Mathematics and S c i e n c e  Education)  We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the required  standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA May 1985 Wendy Lynn K l a s s e n  $935  In p r e s e n t i n g  this thesis i n partial  f u l f i l m e n t o f the  requirements f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make it  freely  a v a i l a b l e f o r reference  and study.  I further  agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying o f t h i s  thesis  f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the head o f my department o r by h i s o r her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . understood t h a t copying o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s for f i n a n c i a l  gain  It i s thesis  s h a l l not be allowed without my  written  permission.  Department o fftAdStfaz/nfta&Cs&asntfls S"g^yL-£d> £zjl4<^&Zis(r-yv' The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date  jf'DB-M  Columbia  Page i i  ABSTRACT  Thesis Supervisor:  The  Dr. David F.  Robitaille  purpose of t h i s study was  t o determine whether  t h e r e were s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n s t u d e n t s ' toward computers a t the Grade 4 l e v e l . constructed, two  c o n s i s t i n g of t w e n t y - f i v e  s u b j e c t i v e items and  attitudes  A questionnaire multiple choice  e i g h t background items.  The  was items,  multiple  c h o i c e items were grouped i n t o s i x r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s :  (1)  I n t e r e s t i n and Enjoyment i n U s i n g  and  Confidence About Computer Use,  Computers,  (2) A n x i e t y  (3) P e r c e i v e d U s e f u l n e s s  Computers,  (4) P e r c e i v e d  Computers,  (5) R e l a t i o n s h i p Between Mathematics and  and  Sex Roles i n A t t i t u d e s Toward  (6) A t t i t u d e s Toward Mathematics.  administered of 143  t o a sample of 290  g i r l s and  The  147  of  The  students.  Computers,  questionnaire The  was  sample c o n s i s t e d  boys.  data were analysed  t o determine any  sex  d i f f e r e n c e s i n responses t o each of the items i n each of  the  reporting categories.  and  A t t i t u d e s toward i n d i v i d u a l items  r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s were d e f i n e d t o be p o s i t i v e i f 50%  o r more  of the s t u d e n t s / g i r l s / b o y s responded t o the item/category i n a manner e s t a b l i s h e d by the author as p o s i t i v e .  To  identify  Page i i i  s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t responses, median p o l i s h was the  item-by-gender t a b l e s .  revealed  items t h a t had  Results  used  on  of the median p o l i s h  been r e a c t e d  t o , by a l l s t u d e n t s , i n a  more s t r o n g l y p o s i t i v e o r n e g a t i v e manner i n comparison t o o t h e r items w i t h i n the c a t e g o r y .  In a d d i t i o n , sex  i n responses t o each of the items and were i n d i c a t e d and  any p a t t e r n s  gender were r e v e a l e d . i n d i v i d u a l items and  the  differences  the r e p o r t i n g  categories  r e l a t e d t o e i t h e r items or  In a d d i t i o n t o the a n a l y s i s reporting categories,  of  r e s u l t s from the  25  items f o r g i r l s were compared based on whether o r not t h e i r mothers use  computers and  whether or not they had  The were no  a l s o f o r a l l students based  computers a t home.  r e s u l t s of the q u e s t i o n n a i r e  indicate that  sex d i f f e r e n c e s i n responses t o f i v e o f the  reporting categories.  on  six  G i r l s and boys a t t h i s age would seem t o  have comparable p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e s toward computers w i t h t o " I n t e r e s t i n and  Computers", and  "Relationship  "Perceived  " A t t i t u d e s Toward Mathematics".  Roles i n A t t i u d e s  w h i l e both g i r l s and  Toward Computers".  and  U s e f u l n e s s of  Between Mathematics  s i g n i f i c a n t s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n one Sex  regard  Enjoyment i n U s i n g Computers", "Anxiety  Confidence About Computer Use", Computers" and  there  and There were  category, I t was  "Perceived  found t h a t  boys have a p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e i n t h i s  Page i v  category, attitude.  22% more g i r l s than boys d i s p l a y e d t h i s p o s i t i v e However, i n view o f the d i f f i c u l t y o f  interpreting  these r e s u l t s , one cannot p r o v i d e a s t r o n g argument f o r c o n c l u d i n g t h a t one gender has a s t r o n g e r p o s i t i v e sexist)  a t t i t u d e than the other.  f e e l i t i s j u s t as important about computers.  (less  G i r l s and boys a t t h i s  f o r e i t h e r sex t o use and  age  learn  Page v CONTENTS Page ABSTRACT  i i  LIST OF TABLES  viii X  ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Chapter 1.  INTRODUCTION  1  Major Questions Posed i n t h e Study 2.  3.  REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE  5 7  Participation  7  S o c i a l Issues  17  Summary  23  METHOD  24  Sample S e l e c t i o n  24  D e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e Sample Procedures  24 25  Student Data C o l l e c t i o n Instrument  25  Teacher Q u e s t i o n n a i r e  27  F i e l d Testing  28  Corrections to the Attitude Q u e s t i o n n a i r e Based on F i e l d Testing  29  Questionnaire  30  Administration  Data A n a l y s i s  31  Methods o f A n a l y s i s  32  Median P o l i s h  33  Page v i 4.  FINDINGS  37  Teacher Q u e s t i o n n a i r e  37  Student  39  Questionnaire  Background Data  39  Reporting Categories  44  I n t e r e s t i n and Enjoyment i n U s i n g Computers A n x i e t y and Confidence  About  Computer Use  5.  44  48  P e r c e i v e d U s e f u l n e s s o f Computers  51  P e r c e i v e d Sex Roles i n A t t i t u d e s Toward Computers R e l a t i o n s h i p Between  54  Mathematics and Computers  60  A t t i t u d e s Toward Mathematics  62  G i r l s and T h e i r Mothers  64  Home Computers  66  Open-Response Items  68  SUMMARY/ CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ...  70  Introduction  70  Reporting Categories  71  I n d i v i d u a l Items  72  Further Findings  74  Conclusions  76  Recommendations  78  BIBLIOGRAPHY  80  Page v i i APPENDIXES A  83 D i r e c t i o n s f o r A d m i n i s t e r i n g the A t t i t u d e Questionnaire  83  B  Student Q u e s t i o n n a i r e  84  C  Teacher Q u e s t i o n n a i r e  88  Page  viii  LIST OF TABLES TABLE  Page  1  D i s t r i b u t i o n o f S u b j e c t s by Grade and Gender  25  2  Summary A n a l y s i s o f Background Item 2  40  3  Summary A n a l y s i s o f Background Item 3  40  4  Summary A n a l y s i s o f Background Item 4  41  5  Summary A n a l y s i s o f Background Item 5  42  6  Summary A n a l y s i s o f Background Item 6  43  7  Summary A n a l y s i s o f Background Item 7  43  8  Summary A n a l y s i s o f Background Item 8  44  9  I n t e r e s t i n and Enjoyment i n U s i n g  Computers  46  10  I n t e r e s t i n and Enjoyment i n U s i n g ( R e s u l t s a f t e r Median P o l i s h i n g )  Computers  11  Anxiety  and Confidence About Computer Use  12  Anxiety  and Confidence About Computer Use  47 49  ( R e s u l t s a f t e r Median P o l i s h i n g )  50  13  Perceived Usefulness  52  14  P e r c e i v e d U s e f u l n e s s o f Computers ( R e s u l t s a f t e r Median P o l i s h i n g ) P e r c e i v e d Sex Roles i n A t t i t u d e s Toward Computers  53 55  16  P e r c e i v e d Sex Roles i n A t t i t u d e s Toward ( R e s u l t s a f t e r Median P o l i s h i n g )  56  17  Comparison o f Items 7 and 14  58  18  R e l a t i o n s h i p Between Mathematics and Computers  60  19  R e l a t i o n s h i p Between Mathematics and Computers ( R e s u l t s a f t e r Median P o l i s h i n g )  61  20  A t t i t u d e s Toward Mathematics  63  15  o f Computers  Computers  Page i x 21  A t t i t u d e s Toward Mathematics ( R e s u l t s a f t e r Median P o l i s h i n g )  63  22  G i r l s and t h e i r Mothers  64  23  Home Computers  66  Page x  ACKNOWLEDGEMENT  I wish t o thank members of my t h e s i s Dr.  committee,  David R o b i t a i l l e , D r . James S h e r r i l l and D r . Gaalen  E r i c k s o n f o r t h e i r guidance.  I t has been a p r i v i l e g e f o r me to  work w i t h them.  I o f f e r my thanks t o D r . P a u l i n e W e i n s t e i n who encouraged me as a female mathematics  educator.  My thanks are a l s o due t o the t e a c h e r s  and s t u d e n t s i n  the Richmond School D i s t r i c t who w i l l i n g l y p a r t i c i p a t e d i n the study.  Finally,  I would l i k e t o thank my c o l l e a g u e ,  Ken  C o r b e t t f o r h i s guidance, my f a m i l y f o r t h e i r support and e s p e c i a l l y my husband Bob f o r h i s constant  encouragement.  Page 1 Chapter 1  INTRODUCTION  The use o f computers i n elementary and schools  i s increasing rapidly.  educators r e g a r d i n g  secondary  The i s s u e s o f concern t o  the r o l e o f the computer i n the classroom  are numerous.  Computer e q u i t y attention  (Alvarado,  Johnson, M.L., 1984;  i s one i s s u e t h a t has r e c e i v e d much  1984;  1983;  Anderson,  Komoski, 1984;  Schubert & Bakke, 1984;  Welch & H a r r i s ,  1984;  Lautenberg, 1984;  Winkle & Mathews,  Lipkin,  1982).  Educators are concerned about the a c c e s s i b i l i t y o f computers t o c e r t a i n groups o f people based on economics, intelligence, physical d i s a b i l i t i e s , region.  received attention  t o computers.  1984).  Marrapodi, 1984;  Kolata,  T h i s t o p i c has  1984;  Miura & Hess,  Lockheed  1984;  be b e i n g  also  1984; &  Sanders,  The authors l i s t e d suggest t h a t the computer may  becoming a male domain and t h a t g i r l s may behind.  the t o p i c of  ( F i s h e r , 1984a, 1984b; G i l l i l a n d ,  K i e s l e r , S p r o u l l s & E c c l e s , 1983; 1984;  sex,  and community s i z e and  Of p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t t o t h i s author was  gender e q u i t y w i t h regard  Frakt,  race,  be  left  They suggest a v a r i e t y o f reasons f o r t h i s s t a t e o f  a f f a i r s which may  be l o o s e l y grouped as f o l l o w s :  (1) g i r l s  Page 2 have no i n t e r e s t i n u s i n g computers and see l i t t l e u s e f u l n e s s f o r themselves, computers,  further  (2) g i r l s do not have access t o  and (3) g i r l s l a c k t h e i n h e r e n t a b i l i t y t o use and  be s u c c e s s f u l w i t h computers.  Whether t h e s e views have been  adopted by females themselves, o r n u r t u r e d by males, p a r e n t s , t e a c h e r s , t h e media o r s o c i e t y i n g e n e r a l i s n o t known.  Some c o n j e c t u r e s imply t h a t f a c t o r s , i n h e r e n t t o t h e sexes, may be a cause o f g i r l s ' d i s i n t e r e s t  (Kiesler,  & E c c l e s , 1984; Lockhead  Others suggest t h a t  and F r a k t , 1984).  Sproull,  w h i l e t h i s d i f f e r e n c e i n i n t e r e s t i s n o t apparent i n elementary s c h o o l , i t does appear around t h e onset o f puberty.  Sanders  (1984) suggests some s o c i a l l y r e l a t e d reasons f o r l a c k o f female p a r t i c i p a t i o n a t t h i s age.  G i r l s , she suggests, a r e  v e r y s o c i a l , and p r e f e r people t o t h i n g s .  G i r l s l e a d a more  active social l i f e  I t i s also  than boys a t t h i s age.  a c c e p t a b l e f o r g i r l s o f t h i s age t o g i v e up i n t h e f a c e o f d i f f i c u l t y and t o a v o i d c o m p e t i t i o n w i t h boys a t t h e computer for to and  f e a r o f winning and appearing unfeminine and u n a t t r a c t i v e boys (Sanders, 1984) .  Boss  (1982) concurs w i t h t h e l a t t e r  states,  Females tend t o d e f e r t o males when both want t o use a computer i n o r d e r t o a v o i d h o s t i l i t y and seek f r i e n d s h i p - e s p e c i a l l y when females a r e j u s t " d i s c o v e r i n g " boys. (p.56)  Page 3 Other authors suggest t h a t i t i s not t h a t computers themselves  do not i n t e r e s t g i r l s but r a t h e r t h a t the atmosphere  where computers are kept and the software t h a t i s a v a i l a b l e not i n t e r e s t g i r l s .  do  The a g g r e s s i v e , c o m p e t i t i v e games t h a t are  o f t e n found i n the v i d e o arcade as w e l l as the classroom have t r a d i t i o n a l l y h e l d g r e a t e r i n t e r e s t f o r boys than f o r g i r l s ( K i e s l e r , S p r o u l l , & E c c l e s , 1983;  Fisher,  1984).  Future u s e f u l n e s s i s perhaps the most concern t o students today who  important  are l e a r n i n g t o use  computers.  Career c h o i c e s and s a l a r i e s w i l l be l i m i t e d t o those g i r l s boys who 1984;  opt out of l e a r n i n g about computers i n s c h o o l  Johnson, B.,  1983;  Sanders,  1984).  school l e v e l ,  may  (Lipkin,  The b e s t way  i n c r e a s e female p a r t i c i p a t i o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y a t the  and  to  secondary  be t o make students more aware of the f u t u r e  i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h e i r p r e s e n t c h o i c e s r e g a r d i n g computers. Although numbers v a r y , t h e r e i s g e n e r a l agreement t h a t as our s o c i e t y becomes i n c r e a s i n g l y t e c h n o l o g i c a l , c a r e e r „ q u a l i f i c a t i o n s w i l l undoubtedly computers  ( L i p k i n , 1984,  Johnson, B.D.  1983;  i n v o l v e some e x p e r i e n c e w i t h  Nordman, 1984;  Schubert  Sanders,  & Bakke, 1984;  1984;  Alvarado,  1984).  The q u e s t i o n of access t o computers goes beyond the classroom w a l l s t o i n c l u d e computer c l u b s , summer camps and c l a s s e s and i n d i v i d u a l homes.  G e n e r a l l y , boys are encouraged  Page 4 'more, and more o f t e n f i n a n c i a l l y supported t o a t t e n d s o r t s o f computer a c t i v i t i e s Sanders, 1984).  optional  (Miura & Hess, 1984; F i s h e r ,  1984;  As w e l l , the media tends t o be more  m a l e - o r i e n t e d w i t h r e g a r d t o computer a d v e r t i s i n g F r a k t , 1984; F i s h e r ,  (Lockheed &  1984a).  The f i n a l t h e o r y f o r the gender i n e q u i t y i n computer use i s c e n t r e d around mathematics.  Some people b e l i e v e t h a t  g i r l s i n h e r e n t l y have l e s s a b i l i t y than boys i n mathematics. I t i s easy t o t r a n s f e r such a b e l i e f r e g a r d i n g mathematics t o computers 1982) .  (Collis,  1984; Sanders, 1984; A l v a r a d o , 1984; Winkle,  However, the computer need not be s o l e l y  w i t h mathematics.  For example, C o l l i s  associated  (1984) suggests  u t i l i z i n g the p o s i t i v e f e e l i n g s g i r l s have about w r i t i n g t o i n t r o d u c e t h e use of computers through word p r o c e s s i n g as p a r t of E n g l i s h  classes.  While t h e p o t e n t i a l reasons f o r the lower r a t e o f female i n t e r e s t i n and p a r t i c i p a t i o n w i t h computers a r e numerous, so are t h e suggested remedies t o e q u a l i z e t h e r a t e . As educators are becoming more aware of the problems r e g a r d i n g accessibility,  i n t e r e s t , and a b i l i t y i n r e g a r d t o computers,  and a r e w i l l i n g t o a c t upon them, the gender e q u i t y i s s u e i n the f i e l d o f computers may become an unnecessary area o f concern.  Page 5 Major Questions Posed i n the Study  Most s t u d i e s r e p o r t i n g on s e x - d i f f e r e n c e s and computers have been c a r r i e d out a t the secondary s c h o o l  level.  The i n t e n t o f t h i s study was t o determine i f any s e x - d i f f e r e n c e s appear a t an e a r l i e r age.  In p a r t i c u l a r ,  i n f o r m a t i o n was sought and d i f f e r e n c e s examined i n t h e s t a t e d a t t i t u d e o f Grade 4 g i r l s and boys i n r e g a r d t o computer use. The t o p i c o f a t t i t u d e was s u b - d i v i d e d  into s i x categories.  These c a t e g o r i e s were formed on the b a s i s o f i n f o r m a t i o n had  been r e p o r t e d a t the secondary s c h o o l l e v e l .  r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s were: Using  Computers,  (2) A n x i e t y  (3) P e r c e i v e d U s e f u l n e s s  that  The s i x  (1) I n t e r e s t i n and Enjoyment i n and Confidence about Computer Use,  of Computers,  i n A t t i t u d e s Toward Computers,  (4) P e r c e i v e d  (5) R e l a t i o n s h i p  Sex Roles  Between  Mathematics and Computers, and (6) A t t i t u d e Towards Mathematics.  The primary purpose was t o use  r e c e i v e d from a sample o f Grade 4 students  information  t o g e n e r a l i z e on the  a t t i t u d e s o f t h a t age group w i t h r e g a r d t o each o f t h e above mentioned r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s and t o determine i f t h e r e were any s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s a t such a young age.  Page 6 A  s e c o n d a r y o b j e c t i v e was t o c o l l e c t  from Grade 4 students,  regarding  sex-related differences. data  Examples o f b a s e l i n e d a t a  Have y o u e v e r u s e d a c o m p u t e r a t s c h o o l  2.  Do y o u h a v e a c o m p u t e r a t home?  before?  o b j e c t i v e was t o d e t e r m i n e p o t e n t i a l  r e l a t i o n s h i p s between t h e b a s e l i n e d a t a reporting  would be  questions:  1.  final  data,  computers and t o d e t e r m i n e any  g a t h e r e d by t h e f o l l o w i n g t y p e o f  A  categories.  and t h e s i x main  The f o l l o w i n g q u e s t i o n s  were  asked:  1.  I s t h e r e a r e l a t i o n s h i p between h a v i n g a computer a t home a n d a t t i t u d e a s m e a s u r e d i n t h e s i x reporting categories?  2.  I s t h e r e a r e l a t i o n s h i p between g i r l s ' mothers u s i n g computers and a t t i t u d e as measured i n t h e six reporting categories?  From t h e f o l l o w i n g two o p e n r e s p o n s e additional perceptions from  baseline  information  was s o u g h t r e g a r d i n g  of future usefulness  questions,  the students•  o f computers and i n f l u e n c e  home.  1.  How do y o u t h i n k y o u c o u l d u s e a c o m p u t e r when you a r e an a d u l t ?  2.  Do y o u t h i n k t h a t y o u r m o t h e r a n d f a t h e r a r e e n t h u s i a s t i c about you l e a r n i n g t o use a computer? T e l l why o r why n o t .  Page 7 Chapter 2  REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE  Because the t o p i c s o f computer e q u i t y and sex d i f f e r e n c e s i n r e g a r d t o computers are r e l a t i v e l y new,  the  review o f r e l a t e d l i t e r a t u r e o n l y dates back a few y e a r s . review has been o r g a n i z e d i n t o two s e c t i o n s .  The  The  first  s e c t i o n , " P a r t i c i p a t i o n " , d e a l s w i t h the e n r o l l m e n t i n computer-related courses.  a c t i v i t i e s and c u r r i c u l u m content o f computer  In p a r t i c u l a r t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p between mathematics  and computers i s d i s c u s s e d .  The, f u t u r e r e l e v a n c e f o r c h i l d r e n  l e a r n i n g about computers now  i s also discussed.  section,  In t h e second  " S o c i a l I s s u e s " , a f f e c t i n g female p a r t i c i p a t i o n w i t h  computers a r e p r e s e n t e d .  A l s o , t h e atmosphere o f where  computers are used and the software employed are d i s c u s s e d .  Participation  Educators concerned w i t h gender e q u i t y and the computer b e l i e v e t h e r e are a v a r i e t y o f f a c t o r s t h a t produce i n e q u i t a b l e access t o computers and computer knowledge f o r females.  T h i s gender gap i n access w i l l e v e n t u a l l y l e a d t o a  gender gap not o n l y i n computer knowledge, but a l s o i n e x p e r i e n c e and comfort o f use f o r females.  The consequences of  Page 8 the sex d i f f e r e n c e s become more meaningful when one t h a t the o c c u p a t i o n a l  and  career choices  of the  considers  computer  i l l i t e r a t e w i l l be reduced i n an i n c r e a s i n g l y t e c h n o l o g i c a l society.  The  problem of a person l i m i t i n g h i s o r her  because o f c h o i c e s made i n h i g h s c h o o l r e g a r d i n g summoned a t t e n t i o n a t the s c h o o l d i s t r i c t national  future  computers,  as w e l l as  has  the  level.  Recent r e p o r t s from l o c a l s c h o o l boards and the Science C o u n c i l of Canada show t h a t many g i r l s are j e o p a r d i z i n g t h e i r f u t u r e job p r o s p e c t s by d e c i d i n g i n t h e i r teens t h a t math, s c i e n c e and computers are b e s t l e f t t o the boys. And a n a t i o n a l study by the Canadian School T r u s t e e s A s s o c i a t i o n warns t h a t those g i r l s w i l l be f o r c e d t o e n t e r low-paying j o b s , many of which w i l l be phased out w i t h i n the next decade. Indeed, by 1990 most jobs w i l l r e q u i r e some computer s k i l l s . (Johnson, B.D., 1983 p.45) The U.S. Department of Labor e s t i m a t e s t h a t by the time our c h i l d r e n e n t e r the job market, 50 70% of the jobs w i l l i n v o l v e computers i n some way. (Sanders, 1984, p.32)  Not  o n l y i s the c h o i c e t o get i n v o l v e d i n computers  important one,  but  so a l s o i s the form t h a t involvement  Nordman (1984) asks, "Why Science  1 boy?"  takes.  i s i t so common t o f i n d a Computer  11 c l a s s w i t h 24 boys and  w i t h 24 g i r l s and  an  He  1 g i r l and  continues  Data  Processing  t o say t h a t " G i r l s seem  t o be b l i n d t o the i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h e i r c h o i c e s . " the M i d - A t l a n t i c Centre f o r Sex  E q u i t y concurs.  w i t h the P r o j e c t on Equal R i g h t s ,  L i p k i n of  While working  PEER, L i p k i n found t h a t  girls  Page 9 tended t o take computer courses t h a t would l e a d them t o s e c r e t a r i a l o r computer o p e r a t o r j o b s ; jobs L i p k i n terms as s e r v a n t s of the computer.  Boys, he found, predominated i n the  courses t h a t l e d t o h i g h e r p a y i n g jobs i n the computer such as a c c o u n t i n g and d r a f t i n g  While  fields  ( Z a k a r i y a , 1984).  few s t u d i e s have been conducted  to provide  a c t u a l numbers r e g a r d i n g computer course c h o i c e s of boys and g i r l s , many authors s t r e s s the importance increasingly technological society Mathews, 1982; 1984) .  Schubert  of t h a t c h o i c e i n our  (Sanders,  & Bakke, 1984;  1984;  Winkle &  F i s h e r , 1984;  Alvarado,  From a p o s i t i v e viewpoint, some s t u d i e s have shown t h a t  g i r l s are aware of the importance furture.  computers p l a y i n t h e i r  In C a l i f o r n i a , where the m a j o r i t y o f s t u d i e s on  computer e q u i t y seem t o be t a k i n g p l a c e , t h r e e r e p o r t s , i n p a r t i c u l a r , stated very p o s i t i v e r e s u l t s with regard to g i r l s ' awareness o f the importance 1984) .  o f computers  (Lockheed  In a statewide study of 17 861 C a l i f o r n i a  & Frakt, students,  n e a r l y t h r e e - q u a r t e r s of the t w e l f t h grade g i r l s and of  two-thirds  s i x t h grade g i r l s agreed t h a t a knowledge of computers w i l l  h e l p t o get a b e t t e r j o b .  The  1983  G a l l u p Youth  r e p o r t e d t h a t 65 p e r c e n t of g i r l s aged 13-19  Survey  planned t o take  computer courses i n c o l l e g e and over h a l f o f t h a t group it  likely  college.  thought  t h a t they would have a computer-related major i n And  i n a r e c e n t survey of h i g h s c h o o l students  Page 10 e n r o l l e d i n a mandatory computer s c i e n c e course, 80% of the girls  (as compared t o 82% o f the boys) agreed t h a t knowing  about computers would be important f o r t h e i r own  While some authors E c c l e s , 1983)  ( K o l a t a , 1984;  future.  Kiesler, Sproull &  suggest t h a t sex d i f f e r e n c e s w i t h r e g a r d t o  computers appear as e a r l y as elementary  school, others f i n d  computer use i n e a r l y grades t o be f a i r l y equal but b e g i n s t o change around  puberty.  A t t h i s age ( o u t s e t of p u b e r t y ) , female s t u d e n t s show l e s s i n t e r e s t i n computing and tend t o a v o i d e l e c t i v e c l a s s e s i n computing and i n h i g h e r - l e v e l mathematics. (Alvarado, 1984, p.47)  The s t a t i s t i c s t h a t are a v a i l a b l e f o r the secondary l e v e l , where computer courses are chosen,  show d e f i n i t e  d i f f e r e n c e s between the number of males and females In a C a l i f o r n i a study  school  enrolled.  ( K o l a t a , 1984), o n l y t h i r t y - s e v e n p e r c e n t  of s t u d e n t s e n r o l l e d i n h i g h s c h o o l computer c l a s s e s were girls;  a nationwide  (U.S.) p o l l of 17-year-olds shows t h a t  n e a r l y t w i c e as many boys as g i r l s take computer programming courses.  In h i s p r o j e c t r e s u l t s , L i p k i n  ( Z a k a r i y a , 1984,  p.31)  s t a t e s t h a t i n academic courses such as m a t h e m a t i c s - r e l a t e d computer s c i e n c e courses, boys outnumber g i r l s two t o  one.  However, he views t h a t p o s i t i v e l y i n t h a t as r e c e n t l y as y e a r s ago the r a t i o of boys t o g i r l s was  e i g h t t o one.  five The  Page 11 Toronto Board o f E d u c a t i o n found t h a t by Grade 13, t w i c e as many boys as g i r l s were e n r o l l e d i n both a l g e b r a and computer science  (Johnson,  B.D., 1983).  The lower e n r o l l m e n t  figures  f o r females e x i s t a t t h e c o l l e g e , u n i v e r s i t y and c a r e e r l e v e l s as w e l l .  At B e r k e l e y o n l y 23 p e r c e n t o f t h e computer s c i e n c e majors a r e women. The 1980 census (U.S.) found t h a t j u s t 23 p e r c e n t o f systems a n a l y s t s and 31 p e r c e n t o f computer programmers a r e women. The more advanced t h e computer t r a i n i n g , the fewer women e n r o l l . A t MIT, t h e male graduate students i n Computer S c i e n c e outnumber the females n e a r l y t e n t o one. ( K o l a t a , 1984, p.24)  Course content o f secondary  s c h o o l computer c l a s s e s i s  one p o s s i b l e cause o f low female e n r o l l m e n t .  Many authors  suggest t h a t t h e mathematics o r i e n t e d c u r r i c u l a o f i n t r o d u c t o r y courses tends t o d i s c o u r a g e  females.  While many h i g h s c h o o l s r e q u i r e a l g e b r a as a p r e r e q u i s i t e f o r programming, unnecessary emphasis on math r e s t r i c t s g i r l s ' i n t e r e s t i n programming c l a s s e s . ( F i s h e r , 1984a, p.26)  S i m i l a r concerns have been v o i c e d by EQUALS i n Computer Technology,  an i n s e r v i c e program developed  a t t h e Lawrence H a l l  of S c i e n c e a t U n i v e r s i t y o f C a l i f o r n i a , Berkeley, t o i n c r e a s e e d u c a t o r s ' awareness o f t h e importance t e c h n o l o g i c a l competence.  t o females o f a c q u i r i n g  They pose t h e f o l l o w i n g q u e s t i o n s :  Page 12 Is advanced math, a s u b j e c t more f r e q u e n t l y taken by boys, used as a p r e r e q u i s i t e f o r programming classes? Would E n g l i s h serve j u s t as c o n s t r u c t i v e l y ? I s i t p o s s i b l e t o base some of the programming language content r a t h e r than on mathematics content? ( G i l l i l a n d , 1984, p.43)  C e r t a i n l y t h e s e are v a l i d questions quite revealing.  I t may  and  the answers c o u l d prove  be p o s s i b l e t h a t i t i s not  computer courses themselves t h a t d i s c o u r a g e female but the l a c k of p r e r e q u i s i t e courses and limit  female p a r t i c i p a t i o n .  the enrollment,  s k i l l s that a c t u a l l y  A number of authors have suggested  t h a t the focus of i n t r o d u c t o r y computer courses should programming, but r a t h e r , should p r e s e n t  1984;  not  be  an a r r a y o f more  meaningful t o p i c s t o s u i t a v a r i e t y of students. Frakt,  on  (Lockheed &  F i s h e r , 1984a)  S t u d i e s show t h a t g i r l s f i n d l i t t l e immediate p r a c t i c a l use f o r simple programming s k i l l s and would r a t h e r l e a r n a p p l i c a t i o n s programs f o r word p r o c e s s i n g , database use or g r a p h i c s . (Lockheed & F r a k t , 1984, p.17) To promote more s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e and p a r t i c i p a t i o n f o r females, remove computer s t u d i e s e x p e r i e n c e s from a mathematical or s c i e n t i f i c c o n t e x t . U t i l i z e the p o s i t i v e f e e l i n g s about w r i t i n g t o i n t r o d u c e computer use through word p r o c e s s i n g as p a r t of E n g l i s h c l a s s e s . ( C o l l i s , 1981, p.2)  Page 13 BASIC programming, i n p a r t i c u l a r , has been c r i t i c i z e d as b e i n g too a l g e b r a i c f o r b e g i n n e r s , p a r t i c u l a r l y females 1984).  Logo, a computer language  and secondary alternative Marrapodi, 1984).  (Marrapodi,  designed f o r the  elementary  s c h o o l student, has been suggested as an  ( Z a k a r i y a , 1984; 1984;  Alvarado, 1984;  Nordman, 1984;  Sanders,  1984;  Kiesler, Sproull & Eccles,  Logo i s based on m a n i p u l a t i n g a c u r s o r - l i k e  'turtle , 1  making shapes on the s c r e e n by means of simple v o c a b u l a r y commands.  I t s g r a p h i c nature seems t o be more a p p e a l i n g t o  female s t u d e n t s  (Marrapodi, 1984), and may  female e n r o l l m e n t  (Lockheed  & F r a k t , 1984;  i n turn increase Sanders,  1984).  The C u p e r t i n o Union School D i s t r i c t f i n d s a maximum of 3 0% g i r l s i n BASIC c l a s s e s , but up t o 50% i n Logo C l a s s e s . ( F i s h e r , 1984a, p.26)  I t i s p o s s i b l e , then, t o i n c r e a s e female p a r t i c i p a t i o n i f courses o f f e r t o p i c s o f g r e a t e r i n t e r e s t t o them.  Specific  a p p l i c a t i o n s might i n c l u d e a g r e a t e r emphasis on g r a p h i c s , word p r o c e s s i n g , p e r s o n a l f i l i n g systems and programs i n v o l v i n g language,  a r t and  music.  Besides computer c l a s s e s , the computer has been used e x t e n s i v e l y i n the mathematics classroom 1984;  L i p k i n , 1984;  Sanders,  1984).  (Lockheed  & Frakt,  Mathematics has  t r a d i t i o n a l l y been deemed a male domain and a t the  secondary  Page 14 s c h o o l l e v e l , t h i s can be supported by d a t a .  The b e l i e f i s  a l s o p r e s e n t a t t h e elementary s c h o o l l e v e l and w h i l e not supported by data, t h e b e l i e f remains a p o p u l a r one. I f computers a r e a s s o c i a t e d w i t h mathematics, w i l l t h e s e p e r c e i v e d g e n e r a l n e g a t i v e f e e l i n g s o f i n t e r e s t and a t t i t u d e and supposed i n a b i l i t y o f females w i t h r e g a r d t o mathematics a u t o m a t i c a l l y t o computers?  I n h e r study C o l l i s  transfer (1984), found  a p o s i t i v e answer t o t h a t q u e s t i o n , when she surveyed 1293 grade 12 s t u d e n t s and 1606 grade 8 s t u d e n t s .  Students' a t t i t u d e s toward mathematics and science are m i l d l y p r e d i c t i v e of t h e i r a t t i t u d e s toward computers. Females a r e more l i k e l y than males t o t r a n s f e r n e g a t i v e f e e l i n g s about mathematics t o n e g a t i v e assumptions about computer use and u s e r s . (1984, p.2)  Winkle and Mathews (1982) a l s o see a d i r e c t  relationship  between a t t i t u d e s toward mathematics and a t t i t u d e s toward computers. anything  "Feelings of anxiety  (by women) when c o n f r o n t i n g  'mathematical' r e a d i l y s p i l l over t o computers"  (p.315).  Besides r e l a t i n g t o mathematics, t h e r e a r e c o n f l i c t i n g views on how females' i n h e r e n t a b i l i t y o r i n a b i l i t y r e l a t e s t o s u i t a b i l i t y o f computer use.  "There i s a b s o l u t e l y no q u e s t i o n  t h a t women a r e e q u a l l y q u a l i f i e d t o l e a r n about  computers"  ( K o l a t a , 1984, p.24), says Stage, an e d u c a t i o n a l p s y c h o l o g i s t  Page 15 a t t h e Lawrence H a l l o f S c i e n c e a t B e r k e l e y .  Fennema, an  e d u c a t i o n r e s e a r c h e r a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f Wisconsin,  claims  Some o f t h e v e r y t r a i t s o f t e n c o n s i d e r e d feminine are p a r t i c u l a r l y s u i t a b l e f o r computer specialists: p a t i e n c e and a t t e n t i o n t o d e t a i l f o r example. ( K o l a t a , 1984, p.24)  There may be n o t h i n g i n t r i n s i c t o computing t o discourage g i r l s  ( K i e s l e r , S p r o u l l & E c c l e s , 1983) but t h e r e  may be s o c i a l f a c t o r s t h a t do. Gerschner,  Winkle and Mathews (Lawton &  1982) wrote t h a t women's s o c i a l i z a t i o n make them  l e s s r e c e p t i v e toward computers, and t h e r e f o r e they may r e q u i r e s p e c i a l treatment  t o reduce a n x i e t y and enhance l e a r n i n g .  Some authors view t h e computer as a mechanical  t o y and  b e l i e v e t h a t t o be a reason f o r female d i s i n t e r e s t .  Computer s t o r e s a r e a l s o an a l i e n environment f o r most g i r l s and women by v i r t u e o f t h e v e r y products they s t o c k . Most women a r e n o t f a m i l i a r w i t h e l e c t r o n i c s equipment, w i r e s , and r e l a t e d accessories. ( K i e s l e r , S p r o u l l & E c c l e s , 1983, p.43) A common c o n j e c t u r e i s t h a t young boys a r e more a p t t o t i n k e r and be more comfortable w i t h machines.  I f t h e computer i s  viewed simply as a machine, t h e sex d i f f e r e n c e s i n i n t e r e s t may be e x p l a i n e d .  Others  l o o k a t t h e software component o f t h e  Page 16 computer i n d u s t r y and  l i n k i t w i t h more t y p i c a l l y  a c t i v i t i e s such as f o l l o w i n g a r e c i p e or p a t t e r n  female (Kiesler,  S p r o u l l & E c c l e s , 1983).  To determine whether sex d i f f e r e n c e s are caused by nature  or n u r t u r e c o u l d p r o v i d e d i r e c t i o n f o r d e c r e a s i n g  d i f f e r e n c e s or a c c e p t i n g them f o r what they  these  are.  Some people c l a i m t h a t l i t t l e can be done t o i n c r e a s e g i r l s ' i n t e r e s t , because of sex differences in early socialization. (Kiesler, S p r o u l l & E c c l e s , 1983, p.47)  Information related activities,  a v a i l a b l e about enrollment  i n computer-  other than s c h o o l courses, v a r i e s and  numbers g i v e n are o f t e n e s t i m a t e s .  the  But the u n d e r l y i n g p a t t e r n  i s t h a t t h e r e i s a l a c k of female r e p r e s e n t a t i o n i n o p t i o n a l s c h o o l courses,  summer c l a s s e s and computer camps.  In a  by Miura and Hess (1984) data were c o l l e c t e d from 5533 t o determine enrollment summer c l a s s e s .  The one  study  students  d i f f e r e n c e s i n computer camps and  Some of t h e i r r e s u l t s showed:  r a t i o of boys t o g i r l s i s roughly t h r e e t o (74% boys t o 26% g i r l s ) .  The p r o p o r t i o n of g i r l s i s h i g h e s t i n day c l a s s e s sponsored by the p u b l i c s c h o o l s and lowest i n p r i v a t e r e s i d e n t i a l camps. The p r o p o r t i o n of g i r l s decreased grade l e v e l i n c r e a s e d .  as c o s t  and  Page 17 The p r o p o r t i o n o f females e n r o l l e d i n b e g i n n i n g and i n t e r m e d i a t e c l a s s e s was 28% i n advanced programming c l a s s e s i t was 14%; o n l y 5% o f those e n r o l l e d i n t h e more advanced assembly language courses were female. (p.22)  K i e s l e r , S p r o u l l , and E c c l e s (1983) s t a t e t h a t u n t i l r e c e n t l y , boys outnumbered g i r l s i n programming courses and computer camps by as much as e i g h t t o one.  More r e c e n t l y , t h a t f i g u r e  i s approaching t h r e e t o one.  Social  Issues  Many s o c i a l i s s u e s have been l i s t e d as c o n t r i b u t o r s t o the gender gap i n computer use.  One o f those  i t t h a t males are  more a g g r e s s i v e computer u s e r s .  F i s h e r , a computer  specialist  i n Hayward, C a l i f o r n i a , has c i t e d a number o f p e r s o n a l o b s e r v a t i o n s where boys have p h y s i c a l l y i n t e r v e n e d when a girl(s)  was u s i n g a computer o r where a 'pack' o f boys have  intimidated g i r l s  ( F i s h e r , 1984).  Another s o c i a l i s s u e i s t h a t  g i r l s w i l l v o l u n t a r i l y a v o i d u s i n g computers. i s p a r t i c u l a r l y common i n the middle grades.  Sex s e g r e g a t i o n ' As a g e n e r a l  r u l e , boys and g i r l s do not do t h i n g s t o g e t h e r .  T h i s can  g r e a t l y a f f e c t computer use.  Even i f g i r l s are i n t e r e s t e d i n u s i n g computers, p r e - e x i s t i n g h a b i t s of sex s e g r e g a t i o n can i n h i b i t t h e i r d e s i r e s . I f the boys go t o the computer c e n t e r , then t h e g i r l s may l i k e l y d e c l i n e to enter there. (Lockheed & F r a k t , 1984)  Page 18 Sanders, D i r e c t o r f o r The Computer E q u i t y T r a i n i n g P r o j e c t i n New  York, suggests the f o l l o w i n g as i n f l u e n c e s o f female  participation,  p a r t i c u l a r l y around the age o f puberty:  1.  G i r l s a t middle s c h o o l age are v e r y s o c i a l and p r e f e r people t o t h i n g s . Computers a r e s o l i t a r y a c t i v i t i e s and non-human.  2.  Boys a g g r e s s i v e l y c a p t u r e computer time; g i r l s are r e l u c t a n t t o i n s i s t on time f o r themselves.  3.  I t i s a c c e p t a b l e f o r g i r l s a t t h i s age t o g i v e up i n the f a c e o f d i f f i c u l t y . S o c i a l l y approved h e l p l e s s n e s s i s a t i t s s t r o n g e s t a t puberty.  4.  G i r l s a v o i d c o m p e t i t i o n w i t h boys a t the computer f o r f e a r o f winning and appearing unfeminine and u n a t t r a c t i v e t o boys.  5.  G i r l s p r e f e r human r a t h e r than machine f o r r i g h t answers o f c h o i c e .  6.  As compared t o boys, g i r l s a t t h i s age have many more i n t e r e s t s t h a t compete f o r t h e i r f r e e time. (Sanders, 1984, p.32)  rewards  The i s s u e o f computer usage, then, can be l o o k e d a t from perspectives:  male dominance and female r e s t r a i n t .  concepts r e s u l t i n fewer females u s i n g  Both  computers.  However, an e q u a l l y important i s s u e may have g r e a t e r access t o computers,  two  be t h a t boys  both i n time and number.  Some o f the determinants f o r computer usage, by sex, a t s c h o o l have been i d e n t i f i e d .  Generally, i n a controlled  males and females have equal access t o computers. of v o l u n t a r y s i t u a t i o n , males outnumber females.  situation, In any  sort  Page 19 In a study o f P r i n c e t o n High School s t u d e n t s , E d u c a t i o n a l T e s t i n g S e r v i c e s M a r l a i n e Lockheed found t h a t w h i l e 60 p e r c e n t o f t h e boys had used the s c h o o l ' s computers v o l u n t a r i l y - b e f o r e , d u r i n g and/or a f t e r s c h o o l - o n l y 8 p e r c e n t o f the g i r l s had a v a i l e d themselves o f t h e same opportunity. (Sanders, 1984, p. 31) 1  Tucker's  o b s e r v a t i o n s ( Z a k a r i y a , 1984) a r e i n agreement as she  s t a t e s t h a t female students a r e not j o i n i n g  computer-related  e x t r a c u r r i c u l a r a c t i v i t i e s as f r e q u e n t l y as boys, but she says t h a t g i r l s appear t o be j u s t as comfortable w i t h computers i n the  classroom.  Teachers  a r e not exempt from having  stereotypic  a t t i t u d e s about computers and t h e i r i n f l u e n c e can be immense. Collis  found i n h e r survey t h a t :  There seems t o be a tendency f o r s c h o o l s w i t h more e x t e n s i v e computer s t u d i e s programs and more a c t i v e l y i n v o l v e d t e a c h e r s , a l l o f whom happen t o be male, t o promote p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e s among male students but r e l a t i v e l y n e g a t i v e a t t i t u d e s among female students i n grade 8. (1984, p.2)  Stage ( K o l a t a , 1984) s t a t e s h e r o p i n i o n i n s t r o n g e r terms and says t h a t elementary girls  s c h o o l t e a c h e r s a r e t h e key t o g e t t i n g  i n v o l v e d w i t h computers.  I t i s important  f o r the  t e a c h e r ' s a t t i t u d e t o be as n o n - s e x i s t and encouraging as p o s s i b l e t o a l l students: computer v o l u n t e e r s .  choose both boys and g i r l s as  Very o f t e n t h e computer t e a c h e r i s a  Page 20 male, mathematics t e a c h e r who does not serve as a r e a l i s t i c r o l e model f o r t h e m a j o r i t y o f g i r l s .  F o r t h e male t e a c h e r , i t  i s important t o p r o v i d e those r o l e models, by means o f d i s c u s s i o n and guest speakers  (Alvarado, 1984; G i l l i l a n d ,  1984).  I f t h e gender gap i s g i v e n due a t t e n t i o n a t s c h o o l , there i s s t i l l  t h e home environment  g r e a t e r access t o computers a t home? available. Fisher  t o consider.  Do boys have  Very l i t t l e data a r e  (1984b) r e p o r t s data from a C a l i f o r n i a  i n May o f 1984 o f s i x t h grade s t u d e n t s .  survey  Twenty-one p e r c e n t o f  the boys had access t o computers a t home w h i l e 15% o f t h e g i r l s did;  t h i s does n o t appear t o be a v a s t d i f f e r e n c e .  and Bakke (1984) a r e i n v o l v e d i n an ongoing  Schubert  study i n Palo A l t o ,  C a l i f o r n i a which i s l o o k i n g f u r t h e r i n t o t h e i n f l u e n c e home.  from  The study a t t h e American I n s t i t u t e f o r Research i s  l o o k i n g t o p r o v i d e some i n s i g h t w i t h answers t o t h e f o l l o w i n g questions:  Under what circumstances do p a r e n t s support t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s d e s i r e s t o l e a r n about computers? Do p a r e n t s attempt t o d i s c o u r a g e t h e i r daughters from t h i s f i e l d f o r one reason o r another, and what a r e these reasons? Do some p a r e n t s attempt t o g e t t h e i r daughters i n t e r e s t e d i n e d u c a t i o n a l technology? Is t h e r e a d i f f e r e n c e between t h e way p a r e n t s encourage t h e i r c h i l d r e n i n f a m i l i e s w i t h both male and female c h i l d r e n ? (p.30)  Page 21 Some s t u d i e s have r e p o r t e d t h a t p a r e n t s have a b i a s e d a t t i t u d e i n r e g a r d s t o computers toward t h e i r sons ( F i s h e r , 1984a; Schubert  & Bakke, 1984).  Parents a r e more i n c l i n e d t o  encourage t h e i r sons t o take computer c l a s s e s and they a r e more w i l l i n g t o spend money on t h e i r sons w i t h r e g a r d t o computers. P a r e n t a l involvement sexes.  can be i n v a l u a b l e f o r c h i l d r e n o f both  By having a computer a t home, c h i l d r e n can have more  i n d i v i d u a l hands-on time on a computer.  They can a l s o view  both t h e i r p a r e n t s as r o l e models.  While  some students have access t o micro-computers a t  s c h o o l and o t h e r s a r e f o r t u n a t e enough t o have home computers, for  some, t h e i r i n i t i a l and perhaps s o l e c o n t a c t w i t h computers  are w i t h v i d e o games a t t h e i r n e a r e s t g r o c e r o r v i d e o  arcade.  I f t h a t i s t h e case, i t may not be computers t h a t a r e t u r n i n g the g i r l s  o f f , b u t t h e atmosphere where t h e computers a r e .  Attendance  a t v i d e o arcades i s predominantly  male.  L i k e t h e poolroom o f y e s t e r d a y , i t (the v i d e o arcade) i s l a r g e l y a male p r e s e r v e , a p l a c e where boys and young men gather. (Kiesler, Sproull & E c c l e s , 1984, p.42)  If  i t i s not t h e atmosphere o f t h e arcades, i t may be  the s u i t a b i l i t y abilities.  o f t h e games themselves  to g i r l s '  i n t e r e s t s and  Benbow and S t a n l e y (1980) favour t h e h y p o t h e s i s  t h a t males have s u p e r i o r mathematical  ability  which may be  Page 22 r e l a t e d t o g r e a t e r male a b i l i t y  i n s p a t i a l tasks.  f u e l t o the f i r e of male domination  of v i d e o  T h i s may  add  arcades.  A l o n g s i d e hand-eye c o o r d i n a t i o n , a b i l i t y i n s p a t i a l v i s u a l i z a t i o n would appear t o be an a s s e t i n the arcade of  world  s h o o t i n g o b j e c t s i n space and j o u r n e y i n g through mazes  (Maccoby & J a c k l i n ,  1974).  I f i t i s not t h e i r a b i l i t y t h a t d i s s u a d e s g i r l s p l a y i n g these v i d e o games, perhaps i t i s d i s i n t e r e s t . i n s i d e a v i d e o arcade,  from  Once  a g i r l has a c h o i c e of p l a y i n g a game  based on a b a t t l e , a bombing o r some o t h e r form of d e s t r u c t i v e , a g g r e s s i v e game.  T r a d i t i o n a l l y , these t o p i c s have not been as  e n t i c i n g t o g i r l s as t o boys.  Most games, a c c o r d i n g t o Dan Gutman, e d i t o r of VIDEO GAMES PLAYER are 'designed by boys f o r o t h e r boys'. (Kiesler, Sproull & Eccles, 1984,p.42)  G i r l s o f t e n p r e f e r more c o o p e r a t i v e , as opposed t o c o m p e t i t i v e , programs ( F i s h e r , 1984a; Sanders, 1984; a d d i t i o n t o the game format,  Marrapodi,  1984).  o f t e n the c h a r a c t e r s , symbols  In and  language w i t h a program are male o r i e n t e d ( F i s h e r , 1984a,). Being aware of these b i a s e s and o f f e r i n g a broader v a r i e t y of programs w i t h i n a classroom or computer c e n t r e may females.  a t t r a c t more  Page 23 One  o f t h e most n o t i c e a b l e  i n t h e long l i s t  and most c o r r e c t a b l e  issues  o f i s s u e s about sex d i f f e r e n c e s i n computers  i s t h e media v e r s i o n t h a t "computers a r e f o r boys" (Lockheed & Frakt,  1984;  Fisher,  1984;  Marrapodi,  1984).  Too o f t e n ,  advertisements i n magazines and t e l e v i s i o n use men e x c l u s i v e l y or as t h e i r f o c a l p o i n t s , w h i l e women a r e c a s t as "onlookers". I f women remain "onlookers" i n today's computer s o c i e t y , they may a l s o be c a s t as "Second-Class C i t i z e n s " as t h e t i t l e o f one a r t i c l e suggests ( K i e s l e r , S p r o u l l SE E c c l e s , 1 9 8 4 ) .  Summary  There i s an i n c r e a s i n g awareness o f t h e i s s u e o f gender e q u i t y w i t h regard personal  t o computers.  anecdotes may i n d i c a t e a g e n e r a l  interest i n this field.  Many s t u d i e s and many increase  i n female  However, t h e data show a lower r a t e o f  female p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n a l l computer-related a c t i v i t i e s . of t h e reasons have been i d e n t i f i e d and mentioned. are b e i n g developed t o a l l e v i a t e t h e d i s c r e p a n c i e s .  Some  Remedies Certainly,  the t h r u s t i s n o t t o encourage female p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n e x c l u s i o n t o male p a r t i c i p a t i o n but r a t h e r t o make t h e f i e l d o f computers a t t r a c t i v e and a c c e s s i b l e t o as many s t u d e n t s as possible.  Page Chapter  24  3  METHOD  T h e w e r e  a n y  r e g a r d  p u r p o s e  o f  s e x - r e l a t e d  t o  c o m p u t e r s  q u e s t i o n n a i r e . d e v e l o p m e n t  A a n d  t h i s  s t u d y  d i f f e r e n c e s t h r o u g h  f i e l d  o f  a d m i n i s t r a t i o n  m e t h o d s  o f  d a t a  a r e  a n a l y s i s  p o p u l a t i o n  s a m p l e  o f  a d j o i n i n g  a l l  t h e  c i t y  s o c i o - e c o n o m i c t h e  G r a d e o f  l e v e l s  i n 4  t h e r e  l e v e l  w i t h  a t t i t u d e  s a m p l e , i n  q u e s t i o n n a i r e t h i s  p r e s e n t e d .  c h a p t e r . F i n a l l y ,  T h e t h e  S e l e c t i o n  t h e  s t u d y  c l a s s e s  i n  w a s a  s e l e c t e d  s u b u r b a n  V a n c o u v e r ,  B . C .  a n d  b a c k g r o u n d s  e t h n i c  A  w i d e  f r o m  t h e  c o m m u n i t y r a n g e  a r e  o f  r e p r e s e n t e d  i n  c o m m u n i t y .  D e s c r i p t i o n  o f  S i n c e t h e  u s e d  a n  4  i f  e x p l a i n e d .  S a m p l e  T h e  d e t e r m i n e  G r a d e  f o u n d  a l s o  a r e  o f  t h e  a r e  t o  t h e  u s e  o f  t e s t i n g  d e t a i l s  a t  t h e  d e s c r i p t i o n  w a s  s t u d y  c l a s s e s  a n d  w e r e  t h e  S a m p l e  a p p r o x i m a t e l y t h e  a v e r a g e  r a n d o m l y  3 0 0  c l a s s  s e l e c t e d  s t u d e n t s s i z e  f r o m  w a s t h e  w e r e  t o  b e  e s t i m a t e d  t o  p o p u l a t i o n  o f  u s e d b e 6 5  f o r 2 3 ,  1 3  Page 25 classes.  A l l 13 t e a c h e r s were requested by phone t o  p a r t i c i p a t e and a l l agreed.  The sample c o n s i s t e d o f 290  s t u d e n t s , 143 g i r l s and 147 boys.  Although t h e i n t e n t was t o  employ Grade 4 s t u d e n t s , t h e a c t u a l c l a s s breakdown, due t o s p l i t c l a s s e s , i s d i s p l a y e d i n Table 1.  T a b l e '1 D i s t r i b u t i o n of Subjects by Grade and Gender  Grade  Girls  Boys  Total  3  12  9  21  4  113  101  214  5  18  37  55  143  147  290  Total  Procedures  Student Data C o l l e c t i o n  Instrument  The study was d e s c r i p t i v e i n nature and u t i l i z e d the survey method o f o b t a i n i n g d a t a .  The d a t a g a t h e r i n g instrument  f o r s t u d e n t s was a q u e s t i o n n a i r e , designed by t h e author (see Appendix B ) .  The q u e s t i o n n a i r e was f o u r pages i n l e n g t h .  f i r s t two pages c o n t a i n e d t w e n t y - f i v e items i n a L i k e r t  The  Page 26 response  format.  Each item had f i v e response  choices ranging  from " S t r o n g l y Disagree" t o " S t r o n g l y Agree". items were s t a t e d p o s i t i v e l y : about computers".  Some o f t h e  " I would l i k e t o l e a r n more  Others were s t a t e d i n t h e n e g a t i v e :  don't enjoy u s i n g computers a t s c h o o l " . c o n t a i n e d two open response  "I  The t h i r d page  q u e s t i o n s and t h e l a s t page  c o n t a i n e d background q u e s t i o n s w i t h m u l t i p l e c h o i c e  responses.  A u t h o r i z a t i o n was o b t a i n e d t o use n i n e items from t h e MECC Computer L i t e r a c y Q u e s t i o n n a i r e & K l a s s e n , 1979).  The remaining  c o n s t r u c t e d by t h e author,  (Anderson,  Hansen, Johnson  16 a t t i t u d e items were  f o r a t o t a l o f 25 items.  Wording o f  the items was taken i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n t o make them s u i t a b l e f o r Grade 4 s t u d e n t s .  The i n t e n t o f these 25 items was t o  o b t a i n i n f o r m a t i o n about t h e f o l l o w i n g t o p i c s :  I n t e r e s t i n and  Enjoyment i n U s i n g Computers, A n x i e t y and Confidence Computer Use,  About  P e r c e i v e d U s e f u l n e s s o f Computers, P e r c e i v e d Sex  Roles i n A t t i t u d e s Toward Computers, R e l a t i o n s h i p Between Mathematics and Computers and A t t i t u d e s Toward Mathematics. Each item was p l a c e d i n a s p e c i f i c c a t e g o r y f o r r e p o r t i n g purposes.  The s i x r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s and r e s p e c t i v e items  are g i v e n below. The numbers r e f e r t o t h e item number g i v e n i n Appendix B. categories.  Item 18 was t h e o n l y item used i n two r e p o r t i n g  Page 27 1.  I n t e r e s t i n and Enjoyment i n U s i n g Computers:  1, 10,  A n x i e t y and Confidence About Computer Use:  2, 8, 15, 21, 23,  3.  P e r c e i v e d U s e f u l n e s s of Computers:  5, 9, 12,  18  4.  P e r c e i v e d Sex Roles i n A t t i t u d e s Toward Computers:  3, 7, 14,  19,  5.  R e l a t i o n s h i p Between Mathematics and Computers:  4, 13,  A t t i t u d e s Toward Mathematics:  6, 17, 2 0  2.  6.  Two  11,  16,  22 25  24  18  q u e s t i o n s r e q u i r i n g s u b j e c t i v e responses were  i n c l u d e d t o determine  s t u d e n t s ' p e r c e p t i o n of f u t u r e use o f  computers, sex d i f f e r e n c e s i n those p e r c e p t i o n s , and t o determine  the e x t e n t of p a r e n t a l support f o r the use of  computers and any d i f f e r e n c e s between "mother" and  "father".  The background items on t h e f o u r t h page were i n c l u d e d t o p r o v i d e b a s e l i n e data w i t h r e g a r d t o computers and t o a i d i n the a n a l y s i s of r e s u l t s .  Teacher  Questionnaire  The t e a c h e r s were asked t o complete a q u e s t i o n n a i r e about computer content taught i n t h e i r c l a s s d u r i n g the year, the number o f computers i n t h e i r s c h o o l , and t h e i r view of  Page 28 themselves as r o l e models i n r e g a r d t o computers. t h i r t e e n teachers, o f the t e a c h e r s was  e l e v e n were female and two  Of  the  were male.  f a i l e d t o complete t h e i r q u e s t i o n n a i r e s .  not p o s s i b l e t o c o n t a c t one  q u e s t i o n n a i r e was  still  "Teacher Q u e s t i o n n a i r e "  of the t e a c h e r s and  Two It  another  not r e t u r n e d a f t e r making c o n t a c t . can be found i n Appendix  The  C.  F i e l d Testing  The of 1984,  a t t i t u d e q u e s t i o n n a i r e was  f o r the f o l l o w i n g  reasons:  t o t e s t format f o r ease of t o d i s c o v e r any  f i e l d tested i n A p r i l ,  confusing  completion; items;  t o determine l e n g t h of time needed t o complete the q u e s t i o n n a i r e ; t o d i s c o v e r any c o n f u s i o n or misunderstanding a s s o c i a t e d w i t h items c o n t a i n i n g n e g a t i v e words: #10, 13, 18, 21, 23  Teachers of c l a s s e s used i n the f i e l d t e s t were asked t o note any  questions  r a i s e d by students  regarding  the  questionnaire.  Because the m a j o r i t y of f i e l d t e s t i n g was  i n the author's  own  relayed verbally.  s c h o o l , many of the comments were  done  simply  Page 29 The a t t i t u d e q u e s t i o n n a i r e was  f i e l d t e s t e d w i t h one  c l a s s a t each o f t h e f o l l o w i n g grade l e v e l s : 4, 4/5, and 9.  6, 7, 8,  The o r i g i n a l i n t e n t was t o c o l l e c t d a t a from a v a r i e t y  of grades, thus the e x t e n s i v e p i l o t i n g .  However, i n r e v i e w i n g  r e l a t e d a r t i c l e s and s t u d i e s , i t became apparent t h a t most r e f e r r e d t o sex d i f f e r e n c e s o c c u r i n g around t h e age o f puberty and c o n t i n u i n g through h i g h s c h o o l .  A few a r t i c l e s  referred  s p e c i f i c a l l y t o younger c h i l d r e n and s t a t e d t h a t the gap between g i r l s and boys s t a r t e d i n elementary s c h o o l 1984; Winkle & Mathews, 1982).  (Kolata,  The r e f i n e d purpose o f the  study became t o g a t h e r i n f o r m a t i o n from the youngest age group, who were l i k e l y t o have had some c o n t a c t w i t h computers.  C o r r e c t i o n s t o the A t t i t u d e Q u e s t i o n n a i r e Based on F i e l d T e s t i n g  Item 1 was o r i g i n a l l y worded, "I would v e r y much l i k e t o have my own computer".  Because o f the n e a r l y unanimous  r e a c t i o n o f " S t r o n g l y Agree" t o t h i s item, i t was noted t h a t the p h r a s i n g may  have been l e a d i n g , p a r t i c u l a r l y because i t was  the f i r s t  The words "very much" were o m i t t e d i n t h e  item.  f i n a l q u e s t i o n n a i r e so t h a t Item 1 read, "I would l i k e t o have my own  computer".  Page 3 0 In response t o the comments made by p i l o t the author c o n s t r u c t e d a supplement e n t i t l e d , A d m i n i s t e r i n g the A t t i t u d e Q u e s t i o n n a i r e " . i n Appendix A.  t h e i r own  "Directions for  T h i s can be  D i r e c t i o n s ranged from m o n i t o r i n g  l e v e l i n the classroom  t o encouraging  p o i n t of view, p a r t i c u l a r l y  teachers,  the  found  noise  students t o respond from f o r the s e x - r e l a t e d items.  In the Background Items, some students q u e s t i o n e d d e f i n i t i o n of computer. phrase,  the  But f o r l a c k of a b e t t e r word or  o r naming brands, the word computer was  left  in.  Item  8 i n the Background Items,  "Have your every p l a y e d computer games f o r fun?"  appeared t o be redundant and served no purpose. t h e r e f o r e omitted  i n the f i n a l form.  i n f o r m a t i o n , an a d d i t i o n a l item was  It  was  For more s p e c i f i c p l a c e d i n Background Items,  "Have you ever used a computer a t s c h o o l b e f o r e ? "  Questionnaire  Administration  In May,  1984,  the q u e s t i o n n a i r e s were sent through  i n t e r - s c h o o l m a i l t o each of the p a r t i c p a t i n g c l a s s e s i n the sample.  Each t e a c h e r was  r e s p o n s i b l e f o r a d m i n i s t e r i n g them at  Page 31 his  or her l e i s u r e ,  but as soon as p o s s i b l e .  A l l completed  student q u e s t i o n n a i r e s were r e t u r n e d i n the m a i l by the end of May,  1984.  The o n l y necessary follow-up r e q u i r e d were phone  c a l l s t o encourage completion of t e a c h e r q u e s t i o n n a i r e s . t e a c h e r q u e s t i o n n a i r e s were not submitted and attempts i n c o n t a c t w i t h one of the t e a c h e r s f a i l e d . q u e s t i o n n a i r e was  t o get  Another  l o s t i n the m a i l and the t e a c h e r was  w i l l i n g t o complete  Two  not  another.  Data A n a l y s i s  A t o t a l of 290  students p a r t i c i p a t e d i n the  survey.  There were t h r e e i n f o r m a t i o n sources used t o c o l l e c t data t o aid  i n understanding  t h i s age l e v e l :  s t u d e n t s ' a t t i t u d e s toward computers a t  25 a t t i t u d e items, two  open response  questions  and e i g h t background items.  Background data c o n s i s t e d of i n f o r m a t i o n r e g a r d i n g the following:  (1) Student Gender, (2) Computer E x p e r i e n c e ,  (3) Home Computers,  (4) P a r e n t a l Use  Video Arcade E x p e r i e n c e .  of Computers, and  (5)  Background data were a n a l y z e d and  r e p o r t e d i n the form of t a b l e s , comparing g i r l s ' and boys' responses  i n percentages.  are  Page 32 A l l comments f o r the open response grouped.  R e c u r r i n g comments were r e p o r t e d .  items were read  and  A l l comments were  examined f o r d i f f e r e n c e s between g i r l s ' and boys' responses i n percentages.  The a t t i t u d e items d e a l t w i t h the f o l l o w i n g computer-related  categories:  (1) I n t e r e s t i n and Enjoyment i n  U s i n g Computers,  (2) A n x i e t y and Confidence About Computer Use,  (3) P e r c e i v e d U s e f u l n e s s of Computers, i n A t t i t u d e s Toward Computers, Mathematics and Computers,  'b' as as  'Disagree'  ' S t r o n g l y Agree'.  (5) R e l a t i o n s h i p Between  t o be responded  'a' b e i n g d e f i n e d as  'c' as  Roles  (6) A t t i t u d e s Toward Mathematics.  Each a t t i t u d e item was f i v e - p o i n t scale with  (4) P e r c e i v e d Sex  'Can't Decide',  to using a  ' S t r o n g l y Disagree',  'd' as  For a n a l y t i c a l purposes,  'Agree' and  *e'  the l e t t e r s a,  b, c, d and e were g i v e n the v a l u e s 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 respectively.  A l l student data were e n t e r e d i n t o a f i l e a t the  U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia's Computing Centre.  Methods of A n a l y s i s  To i n t e r p r e t e d u c a t i o n a l s i g n i f i c a n c e , the  author  established certain c r i t e r i a to define p o s i t i v e attitudes for i n d i v i d u a l items and r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s .  I f 50%  or  Page 33 more of the  g i r l s and/or boys responded t o an  i n a manner t h a t c o u l d be  item  r e f l e c t e d the p r e d e f i n e d p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e , i t  s a i d t h a t g i r l s and/or boys, i n g e n e r a l , have a  p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e toward t h a t or more of the reporting  item.  In the  category, then i t c o u l d be  toward the  same manner, i f  g i r l s and/or boys responded p o s i t i v e l y t o  boys, i n g e n e r a l , at t h i s age said reporting  positive attitudes items and  individual  reporting  said that g i r l s  In a d d i t i o n  the  and/or  l e v e l , have a p o s i t i v e  category.  50%  attitude  to determining  by percentage, s i g n i f i c a n c e of  individual  c a t e g o r i e s were determined u s i n g a method  c a l l e d Median P o l i s h .  Median P o l i s h  The  item-by-gender t a b l e s  form the b a s i s  m a j o r i t y of a n a l y s e s p r e s e n t e d i n the Without a d d i t i o n a l  analysis,  d e s c r i b e what p a t t e r n s are differences  exist.  following  however, i t i s d i f f i c u l t  i n the data or what, i f  an e x p l o r a t o r y data a n a l y s i s  c a l l e d median p o l i s h was  used  e f f e c t s and  the  into  a grand e f f e c t , row  interactions  below i s designed t o show how  to  any, highlight technique  (Vellemann & H o a g l i n , 1981).  T h i s procedure p a r t i t i o n s two-way t a b l e s pieces:  the  chapter.  In order t o d e t e c t p a t t e r n s and  important d i f f e r e n c e s ,  interpretable  for  of rows and  four  e f f e c t s , column  columns.  t h i s procedure works.  The  example  Page 34 Suppose the p a r t i c i p a t i n g Grade 4 g i r l s and boys had responded t o t h r e e d i f f e r e n t items and the percentages  of  s t u d e n t s responding p o s i t i v e l y t o each item were p l a c e d i n a table.  Items 1.  Computers are u s e f u l  i n many s u b j e c t a r e a s .  2.  Computers are b e s t used f o r mathematics.  3.  Computers h e l p you become a b e t t e r  writer.  Students Items  Girls  Boys  1.  80  85  2.  65  70  3.  75  55  The r e s u l t s o f a median p o l i s h o f these data would be:  Students Items  Girls  Boys  1.  0.0  0.0  15.0  2.  0.0  0.0  0.0  3.  12.5  -12.5  -2.5  - 2.5  2.5  Column E f f e c t s  Row  Effects  67.5 Grand E f f e c t  Page 35 One way.  could interpret  The O v e r a l l  t y p i c a l response t h a t 67.5%  Effect  i s 67.5%  endorsed  was  endorsement of the  items.  Effects  indicate  the e x t e n t t o which each item  In t h i s case, Item 1 has a  Row  T h i s i s a moderate s i z e d e f f e c t which shows  t h a t a l l s t u d e n t s , g i r l s and boys, responded 15% above the t y p i c a l , t o t h i s  The Column E f f e c t s gender responded  t h a t the median or  p o s i t i v e l y t o these uses  That i s a s t r o n g p o s i t i v e  by the s t u d e n t s .  E f f e c t o f +15%.  following  a c r o s s a l l items by both g i r l s and boys  i d e a s p o r t r a y e d by the  The Row  i n the  indicating  of the students responded  of t h e computer.  was  these r e s u l t s  more p o s i t i v e l y ,  item.  indicate  the e x t e n t t o which each  more or l e s s p o s i t i v e l y t o the t h r e e items.  In t h i s case, boys a f f i r m e d the n o t i o n of the u s e f u l n e s s of computers, as measured by these t h r e e items, s l i g h t l y more than the t y p i c a l student's response, w h i l e g i r l s were s l i g h t l y below the t y p i c a l response.  The e f f e c t s , p l u s and minus 2.5%,  are  small.  F i n a l l y , the c e l l s c o n t a i n the R e s i d u a l E f f e c t s . These r e p r e s e n t the e x t e n t t o which the l e v e l s of endorsement of t h e s e items cannot be e x p l a i n e d by students o f t h i s l e v e l i n g e n e r a l or by item d i f f e r e n c e s  but r e p r e s e n t  age unique  Page 3 6 p a t t e r n s of response by g i r l s o r boys t o items of a p a r t i c u l a r nature.  In t h i s example, g i r l s responded much more p o s i t i v e l y  than the t y p i c a l response t o the n o t i o n t h a t computers h e l p you become a b e t t e r w r i t e r , w h i l e boys responded much more n e g a t i v e l y than the t y p i c a l response t o the same i t e m .  For each category t a b l e ,  the i n i t i a l  responses  were  determined by t o t a l l i n g the percentage of "Agree" and "Strongly Agree" answers from the student q u e s t i o n n a i r e s . stated i n a negative  form,  In items  the responses were determined by  t o t a l l i n g the percentage of "Disagree" and " S t r o n g l y Disagree" answers.  F o r example, the item "Computer sometimes s c a r e me"  is stated  i n the n e g a t i v e  percentages  For t h i s  i t e m , the  o f "Disagree" and " S t r o n g l y Disagree"  would c o n s t i t u t e tables  form.  responses  In the  following  o f d a t a , the items s t a t e d i n the n e g a t i v e  form w i l l  noted by a (-)  the i n i t a l t a b l e e n t r y .  total  f o r c l a r i f i c a t i o n purposes.  f o r each i t e m , whether p o s i t i v e o r n e g a t i v e ,  Certain  be  responses  were p r e d e f i n e d by  the author as r e f l e c t i n g a p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e toward the i t e m . These w i l l be c l e a r l y i d e n t i f i e d f o r each r e p o r t i n g category and r e p o r t e d i n the f o l l o w i n g c h a p t e r .  In a d d i t i o n t o the r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s ,  responses  were viewed from the g i r l s based on whether o r not t h e i r mothers used computers and on responses  from a l l  students,  d i v i d i n g them i n t o students who had a computer a t home, and those who d i d n o t .  Page Chapter  37  4  FINDINGS  In t h i s  chapter,  findings  are presented  from  t e a c h e r q u e s t i o n n a i r e which s e t a g e n e r a l background the  s a m p l e was  f o l l o w e d by items  from  taken.  results the  Background d a t a are then  attitude  Teacher  Teachers determine had  were a s k e d  from  which  presented,  o f t h e r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s and  student  the  individual  q u e s t i o n n a i r e where r e l e v a n t .  Questionnaire  the  following five  questions  t h e g e n e r a l atmosphere from which t h e  students,  answered t h e a t t i t u d e q u e s t i o n n a i r e , had  come:  1.  Have y o u t a u g h t any c o m p u t e r u n i t s year? I f so, b r i e f l y e x p l a i n .  2.  Have y o u u s e d a c o m p u t e r a t a l l i n y o u r c l a s s r o o m o r have t h e s t u d e n t s had a c c e s s t o a computer d u r i n g c l a s s time?  3.  How  4.  Do it  5.  Do y o u r v i e w y o u r s e l f a s a r o l e m o d e l a s c o m p u t e r programmer o r a c o m p u t e r u s e r ?  many c o m p u t e r s do y o u  in class  have a t y o u r  you have a computer c l u b a t y o u r r e s t r i c t e d t o c e r t a i n grades?  this  school?  school? a  Is  to who  Page 38 E l e v e n of the t h i r t e e n t e a c h e r s completed and the q u e s t i o n n a i r e . q u e s t i o n n a i r e was returned.  One  of the t e a c h e r s who  d i d not r e t u r n the  c o n t a c t e d , but the form was  The author was  returned  still  not  unable t o get i n touch w i t h the other  teacher.  Ten of the e l e v e n t e a c h e r s had taught some s o r t of computer u n i t t o t h e i r c l a s s ; the u n i t t o p i c s v a r i e d . t o p i c s are computer l i t e r a c y  ( b a s i c v o c a b u l a r y and  Example  directions  f o r u s e ) , g r a p h i c s , t y p i n g , LOGO, word p r o c e s s i n g , math d r i l l and problem s o l v i n g , and some commercial software of unnamed s u b j e c t s .  for a variety  E i g h t out of the e l e v e n t e a c h e r s  mentioned mathematics as one of the uses of computers i n t h e i r classrooms. and  F i v e t e a c h e r s have used LOGO i n t h e i r  f o u r mentioned word p r o c e s s i n g .  The  classrooms  s i n g l e t e a c h e r who  had  not taught a computer u n i t i n c l a s s d i d s t a t e t h a t the computer was  used i n her  classroom.  A l l the s c h o o l s used i n the study have a t l e a s t computer.  Four of the e l e v e n s c h o o l s have o n l y one  f o u r s c h o o l s have t h r e e computers, one computers, and two  s c h o o l s have s i x computers.  p a r t i c i p a t i n g c l a s s e s had the s c h o o l  s c h o o l has  computer(s).  one  computer,  four  All  scheduled time f o r classroom use  of  Page 39 Four o f the e l e v e n s c h o o l s have computer c l u b s ; two those are r e s t r i c t e d t o the i n t e r m e d i a t e  grades.  F i v e of the e l e v e n t e a c h e r s view themselves as models.  of  role  They use the computer f o r themselves and t o a i d i n  schoolwork, eg. r e p o r t c a r d s , worksheets.  D i s c u s s i o n s are h e l d  i n most c l a s s e s about computers and computer u s e r s .  Student  Questionnaire  Background Data  The data d e r i v e d from the background q u e s t i o n s presented  i n tables i n this section.  Percentages are g i v e n f o r  each of the t h r e e p o s s i b l e responses f o r g i r l s and  The percentage of students who b e f o r e i s extremely  boys.  have used computers  h i g h , w i t h no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e  between g i r l s and boys (See Table 2 ) . students who  are  The percentage of  have used a computer a t s c h o o l i s almost as h i g h ,  w i t h o n l y 6% o f the students c l a i m i n g never t o have used a computer a t s c h o o l  (See Table  3).  Page 40 Table 2 Summary A n a l y s i s o f Background Item 2 "Have you ever used a computer b e f o r e ? " (Responses i n %)  Yes  No  Students  97  2  Girls  97  4  Boys  97  I don't Know  No Response  Table 3 Summary A n a l y s i s o f Background Item 3 "Have you ever used a computer at s c h o o l b e f o r e ? " (Responses i n %)  Yes  No  I don't Know  No Response  Students  91  6  -  2  Girls  92  6  -  1  Boys  90  6  -  3  Page 41 Almost o n e - t h i r d o f t h e students have computers a t home (See T a b l e 4 ) . definitions  I t was unreasonable t o d e l v e  into  and/or brands o f computers on t h e q u e s t i o n n a i r e ;  thus t h e meaning o f t h e word computer was l e f t t o t h e s t u d e n t s 1  judgement.  I t i s t h e author's o p i n i o n t h a t most s t u d e n t s o f  t h i s age would view a computer as comparable t o one o f t h e micro-computers a t t h e i r s c h o o l eg. Apple and Commodore.  Only  4% more boys than g i r l s s t a t e d t h a t they have a computer a t home.  Table 4 Summary A n a l y s i s o f Background item 4 "Do you have a computer a t home?" (Responses i n %)  Yes  No  Students  30  68  Girls  28  72  Boys  32  63  I don't Know  No Response  -  2  1  4  Of t h e students who do n o t have computers a t home, almost o n e - h a l f s t a t e d t h e i r f a m i l y has c o n s i d e r e d buying one (See  Table 5).  About o n e - f o u r t h s t a t e d "no" and approximately  o n e - t h i r d d i d n o t know.  Page 42 Table 5 Summary A n a l y s i s o f Background Item 5 " I f you do not have a computer a t home, has your f a m i l y c o n s i d e r e d buying one?" (Responses i n %)  Yes Students  - 3 2  No  I don't Know  No Response  16  19  32  Girls  28  20  24  28  Boys  36  12  14  37  With r e s p e c t t o p a r e n t a l use o f computers, t h e r e seem t o be no obvious d i f f e r e n c e s when comparing use by mother o r f a t h e r nor i n responses by g i r l s and boys (see T a b l e s 6 and 7 ) . did  T h r e e - f i f t h s o f t h e students s t a t e d t h a t t h e i r mothers  n o t use computers w h i l e j u s t under o n e - h a l f s t a t e d t h a t  t h e i r f a t h e r s d i d n o t use computers.  Approximately o n e - f i f t h  o f t h e s t u d e n t s claimed t h a t t h e i r mothers d i d use computers w h i l e about o n e - t h i r d claimed t h a t t h e i r f a t h e r d i d .  However,  w h i l e o n l y 6% more g i r l s s t a t e d t h e i r f a t h e r s used computers than t h e i r mothers, 17% more boys s t a t e d t h e i r f a t h e r s used computers than t h e i r mothers. did  Almost o n e - f i f t h o f t h e students  n o t know i f e i t h e r t h e i r f a t h e r o r mother used computers a t  Page 43 home o r work.  T h i s i s q u i t e a l a r g e percentage b u t r e a s o n a b l e  c o n s i d e r i n g t h i s age group's knowledge  o f t h e i r p a r e n t s ' work.  Table 6 Summary A n a l y s i s o f Background Item 6 "Does your mother use computers at work o r a t home?" (Responses i n %)  Yes  No  I don't Know  No Response  Students  22  60  15  3  Girls  25  58  15  1  Boys  19  62  14  5  Table 7 Summary A n a l y s i s o f Background Item 7 "Does your f a t h e r use computers at work o r a t home?" (Responses i n %)  Yes  No  I don't Know  Students  33  46  19  Girls  31  49  20  Boys  36  42  18  No Response  Page 44 A h i g h percentage a v i d e o arcade  o f t h e students have p l a y e d games i n  (see T a b l e 8 ) . While 83% o f t h e students  answered "yes" t o t h i s q u e s t i o n , i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o note t h a t 12% more boys than g i r l s have p l a y e d games i n a v i d e o  arcade.  Only 7% o f t h e boys claimed t o have never p l a y e d games i n a v i d e o arcade w h i l e 2 0% o f t h e g i r l s have n o t .  Table 8 Summary A n a l y s i s o f Background Item 8 "Have you ever p l a y e d games i n a v i d e o arcade?" (Responses i n %)  I don't Know  Yes  No  Students  83  13  2  Girls  77  20  3  Boys  89  7  -  No Response 2  4  Reporting Categories  Interest  i n and Enjoyment i n U s i n g Computers  The  items i n t h i s category were used t o determine i f  s t u d e n t s i n t h e study were i n t e r e s t e d i n and enjoyed u s i n g  Page 45 computers, and t o determine any sex d i f f e r e n c e s interest. of s t a t e d  I t was a n t i c i p a t e d t h a t t h e r e would be a h i g h i n t e r e s t and enjoyment i n u s i n g  of t h i s age.  level  computers by students  However, i t was not known i f t h e r e would be any  significant differences boys.  i n that  i n the responses between g i r l s and  Based on t h e r e l a t e d l i t e r a t u r e ,  i t might be a n t i c i p a t e d  t h a t more boys would i n d i c a t e a h i g h e r l e v e l o f i n t e r e s t than girls.  Given t h a t i n t e r e s t i s one o f t h e h i g h e s t  motivational  f a c t o r s i n any l e a r n i n g s i t u a t i o n , i f e i t h e r g i r l s o r boys a r e not  i n t e r e s t e d i n computers, they w i l l not be m o t i v a t e d t o use  them o r l e a r n more about them.  I f more g i r l s d i d s t a t e a lower  i n t e r e s t i n computers, t h a t c o u l d be one e x p l a n a t i o n gender i n e q u i t y  i n computer use.  f o r the  A student was deemed t o have  a p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e i n t h e " I n t e r e s t i n and Enjoyment i n U s i n g Computers" c a t e g o r y i f he o r she agreed w i t h items 1, 11, 16 and  22 and d i s a g r e e d w i t h item 10.  or boys responded i n t h e d e f i n e d be  I f 50% o r more o f t h e g i r l s  p o s i t i v e manner, than i t can  s a i d t h a t g i r l s o r boys, i n g e n e r a l ,  a t t h i s age l e v e l  d i s p l a y a p o s i t i v e a t t i t u e i n t h i s reporting category.  The  f i v e items grouped t o form t h i s c a t e g o r y a r e p r e s e n t e d w i t h t h e i r r e s u l t s i n T a b l e 9.  Page  46  Table 9 Interest  i n and E n j o y m e n t i n U s i n g C o m p u t e r s (% P o s i t i v e  Attitude)  Girls  1. 10. 11. 16.  22.  (-)  I would l i k e computer.  94. 0  90. 0  86. 0  I w o u l d l i k e t o l e a r n more about computers.  87. 0  90. 0  I would enjoy u s i n g games t o l e a r n .  66. 0  67. 0  92. 0  94. 0  I don't enjoy using in school.  I  Indicates  c a n be  analysis  that than  an  interest  computers.  items s t a t e d  after  the  (-)  computer  i n the  negative  median p o l i s h i n g ,  found i n T a b l e  10.  It  form  for a l l  was  items i n  established  author would l o o k o n l y a t  those  this  prior  to  differences  10.  T h e r e was as  computers  enjoy working with  category  category  t o h a v e my own 92. 0  Results,  greater  Boys  a very strong positive  a whole.  Almost a l l  i n and e n j o y m e n t  items c o n s t i t u t i n g significantly  this  the  students,  i n u s i n g computers.  category,  weaker r e a c t i o n  of  reaction to  one  88%,  the  display  Of t h e  item received  i n comparison to  this  five  a other  four.  Page 47 The  item was, " I would enjoy u s i n g computer games t o l e a r n " .  Two p e r c e n t o f t h e students d i d not answer t h i s item, 18% d i s a g r e e d , 13% c o u l d n ' t d e c i d e and 66% agreed w i t h t h e item. While  i t i s c e r t a i n l y a p o s i t i v e r e s u l t , i t i s weak i n  comparison t o t h e o t h e r f o u r items, i . e . t h e p o s i t i v e r e a c t i o n s t o t h e o t h e r f o u r items were a l l g r e a t e r than 85%.  T a b l e 10 I n t e r e s t i n and Enjoyment i n U s i n g Computers ( R e s u l t s a f t e r Median P o l i s h i n g ) Girls  Boys  Row  0. 0  -0. 0  4.5  -3. 0  -3 .0  -.5 (-)  1.  I would l i k e t o have my own computer.  10.  I don't enjoy u s i n g computers in school.  11.  I would l i k e t o l e a r n more about computers.  •5  •5  16.  I would enjoy u s i n g computer games t o l e a r n .  •5  •5  -22.0  22 .  I enjoy working w i t h computers.  0. 0  -0. 0  -4.5  -1. 0  1. 0  Column  * Indicates s i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t - set at absolute values 10. (-) I n d i c a t e s items s t a t e d i n t h e n e g a t i v e  form  0.0  88.5 Grand  *  Page 48 The r e a c t i o n t o the item, "I would, enjoy u s i n g computer games t o l e a r n " , i s d i f f i c u l t t o i n t e r p r e t because of the ambiguous wording.  One  doesn't know whether students are  d i s a g r e e i n g w i t h u s i n g a computer t o l e a r n , u s i n g games t o l e a r n , o r u s i n g a computer f o r games.  None of the d i f f e r e n c e s between g i r l s and boys f o r the items i n t h i s category were s i g n i f i c a n t .  G i r l s and boys a t  t h i s age d i s p l a y a comparably h i g h i n t e r e s t and enjoyment i n u s i n g computers.  A n x i e t y and Confidence About Computer Use  The the  items i n t h i s category were used t o determine i f  s t u d e n t s i n the study were anxious or c o n f i d e n t about  u s i n g or l e a r n i n g t o use computers.  Self-confidence often  l e a d s t o p a r t i c i p a t i o n as a n x i e t y does t o s e c l u s i o n . young age, abilities  At such a  do c h i l d r e n a l r e a d y have s t r o n g f e e l i n g s about t h e i r and ease w i t h computers?  The  s i x items t h a t made up  the c a t e g o r y and the r e s u l t s f o r each item are p r e s e n t e d i n T a b l e 11.  A student's a t t i t u d e was  d e f i n e d as p o s i t i v e i n the  " A n x i e t y and Confidence About U s i n g Computers" c a t e g o r y i f he or  she agreed w i t h items 2 and 23 and d i s a g r e e d w i t h items  15, 21 and  25.  8,  Page 49 T a b l e 11 A n x i e t y and Confidence About Computer Use (% P o s i t i v e A t t i t u d e )  Girls  Boys  2.  I am a b l e t o work w i t h computers as w e l l as most o t h e r s my age.  71. 0  72. 0  8.  Computers sometimes s c a r e me.  81. 0  88. 0 (")  15.  Working w i t h a computer would p r o b a b l y make me f e e l uneasy or t e n s e .  66. 0  68. 0 (~)  I t i s my guess t h a t I am not the k i n d o f person who works w e l l w i t h computers.  64. 0  67. 0 (-)  23 .  I have no t r o u b l e u s i n g computers.  50. 0  53. 0  25.  L e a r n i n g t o use a computer would be h a r d e r f o r me than f o r most people  64. 0  74. 0 (")  21.  (-) I n d i c a t e s items s t a t e d i n the n e g a t i v e form  R e s u l t s , a f t e r median p o l i s h i n g , f o r a l l items i n the c a t e g o r y can be found i n T a b l e 12.  Reaction to t h i s  category  was p o s i t i v e w i t h 68% o f the students d i s p l a y i n g a c o n f i d e n t f e e l i n g about u s i n g computers.  Of the s i x items  t h i s category, two items r e v e a l e d s i g n i f i c a n t  One item was,  constituting  results.  "Computers sometimes s c a r e me".  The  s i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t a f t e r the median p o l i s h i n g i n d i c a t e s t h a t i n  Page 50 comparison t o the o t h e r items i n t h i s category, responded t o "Computers sometimes s c a r e me" S i n c e the item was  i n s t r o n g e r terms.  i n the n e g a t i v e form the i n d i c a t i o n  computers c e r t a i n l y study.  students  i s that  d i d not s c a r e the students used i n the  I n f a c t , 84% of the students d i s a g r e e d t h a t computers  sometimes s c a r e d them.  T a b l e 12 A n x i e t y and Confidence Computer Use  About  ( R e s u l t s a f t e r Median P o l i s h i n g )  Girls 2.  I am a b l e t o work w i t h computers as w e l l as most o t h e r s my age. -1. 0  Boys  Row  -1. 0  3.5  -2. 0  2. 0  16.5  (" ) *  •5  •5  -1.0  (")  I t i s my guess t h a t I am not the k i n d o f person who works w e l l w i t h computers.  0. 0  0. 0  -2.5  (-)  23.  I have no t r o u b l e u s i n g computers.  0. 0  -0. 0  -16.5  *  25.  L e a r n i n g t o use a computer would be harder f o r me than f o r most people.  -3 . 5  3. 5  1.0  (  -1. 5  1. 5  68 . 0 Grand  8.  Computers sometimes s c a r e  15.  Working w i t h a computer would p r o b a b l y make me f e e l uneasy or tense.  21.  Column  me.  * Indicates s i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t - set at absolute values 10. (-)  I n d i c a t e s items s t a t e d i n the n e g a t i v e form  Page 51 The  f o l l o w i n g item, "I have no t r o u b l e u s i n g  computers", a l s o produced  a s i g n i f i c a n t l y negative reaction i n  comparison t o the o t h e r items i n t h i s c a t e g o r y .  Only  51%  agreed w i t h the item, w h i l e 26% d i s a g r e e d and 22% c o u l d not d e c i d e . Thus, w h i l e h a l f of the students have no t r o u b l e u s i n g computers, one-quarter one-quarter  of the students say they do,  c o u l d not d e c i d e .  Because the i n t e r e s t  enjoyment l e v e l i s so h i g h a t t h i s l e v e l ,  and  another  and  i t would seem t h a t  the r e s u l t s of t h i s item i n d i c a t e two p o s s i b l e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s . C h i l d r e n a t t h i s age may  l a c k experience and knowledge of  computers as opposed t o a c t u a l d i f f i c u l t y i n u s i n g them or secondly, they may  have d i f f i c u l t y u s i n g computers, but  are  motivated t o t r y .  None of the d i f f e r e n c e s between g i r l s and boys f o r the items i n the category were s i g n i f i c a n t .  G i r l s and boys a t t h i s  age are e q u a l l y c o n f i d e n t about u s i n g and l e a r n i n g t o use computers.  P e r c e i v e d U s e f u l n e s s of Computers  The if  f o u r items i n t h i s category were used t o  students thought  the f u t u r e .  Two  computers were u s e f u l now  determine  and would be i n  items r e l a t e d u s e f u l n e s s d i r e c t l y t o v i d e o  games and mathematics, but otherwise, the i n t e n t was  t o gather  i n f o r m a t i o n w i t h r e s p e c t t o g e n e r a l u s e f u l n e s s of computers. student's a t t i t u d e was  d e f i n e d as p o s i t i v e i n the " P e r c e i v e d  A  Page  52  U s e f u l n e s s o f Computers" category, i f he o r she agreed  with  items 9 and 12  four  and d i s a g r e e d w i t h items 5 and 18.  The  items and the r e s u l t s f o r each are p r e s e n t e d i n T a b l e  Table  13.  13  P e r c e i v e d U s e f u l n e s s of Computers (% P o s i t i v e A t t i t u d e ) Girls 5.  9.  12. 18.  (-)  Computers are b e s t used f o r p l a y i n g v i d e o games.  55. 0  50. o  L e a r n i n g about computers w i l l h e l p me i n the f u t u r e .  80. 0  90. 0  Computers can be u s e f u l i n many subject areas.  88. 0  92. 0  Computers are not u s e f u l i n l e a r n i n g mathematics.  85. 0  88. 0  I n d i c a t e s items s t a t e d i n the n e g a t i v e  The percentage  of students who  of computers i s v e r y h i g h .  (-)  form  Almost a l l of the s t u d e n t s ,  p o s i t i v e l y t o a l l f o u r items.  (-)  can see the u s e f u l n e s s  d i s p l a y e d a p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e i n t h i s category. responded  Boys  86%,  That i s , they  R e s u l t s f o r a l l items  i n t h i s category, a f t e r median p o l i s h i n g can be found i n T a b l e 14.  Page 53 T a b l e 14 Perceived Usefulness of Computers ( R e s u l t s a f t e r Median P o l i s h i n g )  Girls 5.  Computers a r e b e s t used f o r p l a y i n g v i d e o games.  9.  L e a r n i n g about computers w i l l h e l p me i n t h e f u t u r e .  12.  Computers can be u s e f u l i n many s u b j e c t areas.  18.  Computers a r e not u s e f u l i n l e a r n i n g mathematics.  Column  4.3  Boys  -4.2  ROW  -33.2 (-)*  -3.2  3. 3  -.7  -.2  .3  4.3  .3  -.2  -1.7  1.8  .8 (-)  85.8 Grand  * Indicates s i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t - s e t at absolute values 10. (-) I n d i c a t e s items s t a t e d i n t h e n e g a t i v e form  Of t h e f o u r items i n t h e category, o n l y one had a s i g n i f i c a n t l y n e g a t i v e response items.  i n comparison t o t h e o t h e r  F o r t h e item, "Computers a r e b e s t used f o r p l a y i n g  v i d e o games", 52% o f t h e students d i s a g r e e d , 29% agreed and 18% c o u l d not d e c i d e .  Almost o n e - t h i r d o f t h e students agreed  computers a r e b e s t used f o r p l a y i n g v i d e o games.  Only  that  Page 54 approximately h a l f of the students responded  w i t h the  response  r e f l e c t i n g a p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e , t o d i s a g r e e or s t r o n g l y disagree.  While  i t i s a positive result,  i t i s weak i n  comparison t o the o t h e r t h r e e items, i . e . the p o s i t i v e r e a c t i o n s t o the o t h e r t h r e e items i n t h i s c a t e g o r y were a l l g r e a t e r than o r equal t o  80%.  None of the d i f f e r e n c e s between g i r l s and boys f o r the items i n the c a t e g o r y were s i g n i f i c a n t .  G i r l s and boys a t t h i s  age have comparable a t t i t u d e s towards the u s e f u l n e s s of computers.  P e r c e i v e d Sex Roles i n A t t i t u d e s Toward Computers  I t was determine  of i n t e r e s t i n t h i s study, not o n l y t o  sex d i f f e r e n c e s i n how  g i r l s and boys responded  to  s p e c i f i e d items, but a l s o t o o b t a i n i n f o r m a t i o n on s t u d e n t s p e r c e p t i o n s of each gender w i t h r e g a r d t o computers. i n t h i s c a t e g o r y asked students t o l o o k a t " g i r l s " and i n g e n e r a l , as opposed t o any i n d i v i d u a l s .  The  The  items  "boys"  f i v e items t h a t  c o n s t i t u t e d t h i s category and the r e s u l t s f o r each item are presented i n Table  15.  1  Page 55 Table 15 P e r c e i v e d Sex Roles i n A t t i t u d e s Toward Computers (% P o s i t i v e A t t i t u d e )  3. 7.  14.  19.  24.  Girls  Boys  Boys l e a r n more by u s i n g a computer than g i r l s do.  87. 0  61. 0  (-)  I t i s more important f o r boys t o l e a r n about computers than for g i r l s .  86. 0  64. 0  (~)  I t i s more important f o r g i r l s to l e a r n about computers than f o r boys.  69. 0  84. 0  (")  It i s easier f o r g i r l s to l e a r n t o use computers than f o r boys.  64. 0  82 .0  (~)  U s i n g computers i s more i n t e r e s t i n g f o r boys than for g i r l s .  81. 0  53 .0  (  (-) I n d i c a t e s items s t a t e d i n t h e n e g a t i v e  form  A p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e i n t h i s category o f items was d e f i n e d as a n o n - s e x i s t a t t i t u d e .  Students who  responded  n e g a t i v e l y t o items t h a t favoured e i t h e r sex were deemed t o have p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e s ; i n t h i s category, t h a t c o n s i s t e d o f all  f i v e items.  Over 50% o f t h e g i r l s and boys d i s a g r e e d w i t h  each item, l e a d i n g t o t h e c o n c l u s i o n t h a t students o f t h i s age have a p o s i t i v e , n o n - s e x i s t a t t i t u d e r e g a r d i n g computers. boys' responses  The  t o Item 24 came v e r y c l o s e t o not r e f l e c t i n g a  Page 56 positive attitude.  Only 53% o f t h e boys d i s a g r e e d t h a t u s i n g  computers i s more i n t e r e s t i n g f o r boys than f o r g i r l s , w h i l e 81% o f t h e g i r l s d i s a g r e e d .  R e s u l t s f o r a l l items i n t h i s  c a t e g o r y , a f t e r median p o l i s h i n g can be found i n T a b l e 16.  T a b l e 16 P e r c e i v e d Sex Roles i n A t t i t u d e s Toward Computers (Results a f t e r Median P o l i s h i n g )  Girls  Boys  3.  Boys l e a r n more by u s i n g a computer than g i r l s do.  2. 0  -2 .0  7.  I t i s more important f o r boys t o l e a r n about computers than f o r g i r l s .  0. 0  0. 0  14.  19.  24.  Row  0.0 (-)  1.0  (-)  I t i s more important f o r g i r l s to l e a r n about computers than f o r boys. -18. 5*  18. 5*  2.5 (-)  It i s easier f o r g i r l s to l e a r n t o use computers than f o r boys.  20. 0*  -1.0 (-)  3. 0  -3 .0  -7.0 (-)  11. 0*  -11. 0*  U s i n g computers i s more i n t e r e s t i n g f o r boys than f o r girls.  Column  -20. 0*  * Indicates s i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t - s e t at absolute values 10. (-) I n d i c a t e s items s t a t e d i n t h e n e g a t i v e form  74.0 Grand  Page 57 There were no s i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t s i n comparison  of the  items w i t h i n the c a t e g o r y ; the students i n g e n e r a l responded all of  items w i t h approximately the same i n t e n s i t y .  However,  to  two  the f i v e items, as w e l l as the r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r y as a  whole, produced The two  s i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t s between g i r l s and  boys.  items were " I t i s more important f o r g i r l s t o l e a r n  about computers than f o r boys" and " I t i s e a s i e r f o r g i r l s t o l e a r n t o use computers than f o r boys". items, both g i r l s and boys responded  For both of these  i n a p o s i t i v e manner.  However, i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o note t h a t f o r the f i r s t of these items, 84% of the boys d i s a g r e e d w i t h the item w h i l e o n l y 69% of  the g i r l s d i d , and f o r the second item, 82% of the boys  d i s a g r e e d and 64% of the g i r l s d i s a g r e e d .  Both items were  s t a t e d i n terms t h a t favoured g i r l s and i n both cases, approximately 15% more boys than g i r l s d i s a g r e e d w i t h the item.  For  comparison  purposes the f o l l o w i n g two  items,  i d e n t i c a l except f o r sex r e v e r s a l s , were i n c l u d e d i n the questionnaire:  7.  I t i s more important f o r boys t o l e a r n computers than f o r g i r l s .  14.  I t i s more important f o r g i r l s t o l e a r n computers than f o r boys.  The r e s u l t s are p r e s e n t e d i n T a b l e 17.  about about  Page 58 Table 17 Comparison of Items 7 and (Responses i n %)  14  Girls  Disagee  Can't Decide  Boys  Agree  Disagee  Can't Decide  Agree  Item 7 (In favour of Boys)  86  10  3  64  22  14  Item 14 (In f a v o u r of G i r l s )  69  14  17  84  13  2  For e i t h e r g i r l s or boys t o have a p o s i t i v e ( i . e . n o n - s e x i s t ) a t t i t u d e , the p e r c e n t of disagreement items s h o u l d be h i g h .  That i s , a student should d i s a g r e e w i t h  items t h a t are i n favour of both g i r l s and boys. above t a b l e , one can see t h a t t h i s i s so.  boys r e a c t e d i n a s t r o n g e r n e g a t i v e way  g i r l s responded two  Both g i r l s  responded  And more boys than  n e g a t i v e l y t o items t h a t favoured g i r l s .  The  items t h a t r e s u l t e d i n s i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t s f o r sex  d i f f e r e n c e s were s t a t e d i n a manner t h a t read p o s i t i v e l y f o r girls.  and  t o items t h a t favoured  That i s , more g i r l s than boys  n e g a t i v e l y t o items t h a t favoured boys.  From the  However, i t i s  i n t e r e s t i n g t o note the f o l l o w i n g o b s e r v a t i o n s .  the o p p o s i t e sex.  w i t h both  Page 59 Looking a t the  "Perceived  Sex  Roles i n A t t i t u d e s  Toward Computers" c a t e g o r y as a whole, sex d i f f e r e n c e s were a l s o found t o be was  significant.  At the  s t a r t of t h i s s e c t i o n i t  s t a t e d t h a t a t t i t u d e s were deemed t o be p o s i t i v e i f  s t u d e n t s d i s a g r e e d w i t h a l l items.  T h i s was  found t o be  so.  In terms o f the purposes of the p r e s e n t study the data show t h a t both g i r l s and i n the  "Perceived  category.  Sex  (non-sexist)  Roles i n A t t i t u d e s Toward Computers"  I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g , though, t h a t 85%  displayed possible  boys have p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e s  a p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e compared t o 63%  o f the  girls  o f the boys.  i n t e r p r e t a t i o n would be t h a t although boys have a  p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e i n t h i s categroy, i t i s a more s e x i s t than g i r l s .  However, without f u r t h e r i n t e r v i e w s ,  be c l a i m e d .  A second i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , based on  evidence i s t h a t Grade 4 boys and  gender.  The  one  t h i s cannot  stronger  g i r l s tended t o respond i n a  d e f e n s i v e manner when items were worded n e g a t i v e l y own  One  about t h e i r  s i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t s o f the median p o l i s h ,  then, are r e f l e c t i v e of the worded i n f a v o u r of boys.  f a c t t h a t 3 o f the 5 items were The  two  items t h a t  revealed  s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s - items worded i n f a v o u r o f g i r l s were ones t h a t fewer g i r l s and with. one  more boys tended t o d i s a g r e e  In view of the d i f f i c u l t y o f i n t e r p r e t i n g these r e s u l t s ,  cannot p r o v i d e a s t r o n g  gender has other.  -  The  argument f o r c o n c l u d i n g t h a t  a stronger p o s i t i v e  one  ( l e s s s e x i s t ) a t t i t u d e than  i n d i c a t i o n s from the r e s u l t s are t h a t g i r l s  and  the  Page 60 boys a t t h i s age f e e l i t i s j u s t as important f o r e i t h e r sex t o use and l e a r n about computers.  I t was noted t h a t each sex  responded i n a s t r o n g e r d e f e n s i v e manner when items were worded n e g a t i v e l y about t h e i r own  gender.  R e l a t i o n s h i p Between Mathematics and  Computers  The t h r e e items i n t h i s c a t e g o r y were used t o determine i f students p e r c e i v e d any r e l a t i o n s h i p mathematics and computers.  between  A student's a t t i t u d e was d e f i n e d as  p o s i t i v e i n t h i s c a t e g o r y i f he o r she agreed w i t h item 4 and d i s a g r e e d w i t h items 13 and 18.  The t h r e e items and t h e  r e s u l t s f o r each are p r e s e n t e d i n T a b l e 18:  T a b l e 18 R e l a t i o n s h i p Between Mathematics and Computers (% P o s i t i v e A t t i t u d e )  Girls  Boys  4.  U s i n g a computer w i l l h e l p me become b e t t e r a t mathematics.  75.0  78.0  13.  I would r a t h e r not use computers t o l e a r n mathematics.  69.0  67.0  (-)  18.  Computers are not u s e f u l i n l e a r n i n g mathematics.  85.0  88.0  (-)  (-) I n d i c a t e s items s t a t e d i n the n e g a t i v e form  Page 61 T a b l e 19 R e l a t i o n s h i p Between Mathematics and Computers ( R e s u l t s a f t e r Median P o l i s h i n g )  Girls  Boys  Row  4.  U s i n g a computer w i l l h e l p me become b e t t e r a t mathematics.  0. 0  0. 0  0.0  13.  I would r a t h e r not use computers t o l e a r n mathematics.  2. 5  -2 . 5  -8.5  (-)  18.  Computers are not u s e f u l i n l e a r n i n g mathematics.  0. 0  0. 0  10.0  (-)  -1. 5  1. 5  76.5 Grand  Column  (-) I n d i c a t e s items s t a t e d i n the n e g a t i v e form  R e s u l t s f o r a l l items i n the category, a f t e r median p o l i s h i n g can be found i n T a b l e 19. responses  The percentage  of p o s i t i v e  r e l a t i n g mathematics and computers were h i g h .  S e v e n t y - s i x p e r c e n t o f t h e students saw a r e l a t i o n s h i p  between  mathematics and computers.  None o f t h e d i f f e r e n c e s between g i r l s and boys f o r the items i n the category were s i g n i f i c a n t .  G i r l s and boys a t t h i s  Page 62 age have a comparable view of the p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p between mathematics and  computers.  A t t i t u d e s Toward Mathematics  The t h r e e items i n t h i s c a t e g o r y c o n c e r n i n g toward mathematics were used t o determine i n mathematics and t h e i r enjoyment of i t . was  attitudes  students' confidence A student's  d e f i n e d as p o s i t i v e i n t h i s category i f he o r she  attitude agreed  w i t h items 6 and 20 and disageed w i t h item 17.  The t h r e e  and the r e s u l t s f o r each are p r e s e n t e d i n T a b l e  20.  items  R e s u l t s f o r a l l items i n the category, a f t e r median polishing  can be found i n T a b l e 21.  the s t u d e n t s responded  Seventy-four p e r c e n t of  p o s i t i v e l y t o t h i s c a t e g o r y as a whole.  There were no s i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t s among the items o r between g i r l s and boys f o r any item.  Both g i r l s and boys have a good  a t t i t u d e toward mathematics.  I t i s d i f f i c u l t to generalize  beyond the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n t h a t students o f t h i s age have a p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e about mathematics.  Page 63 T a b l e 20 A t t i t u d e s Toward Mathematics (% P o s i t i v e A t t i t u d e )  Girls  Boys  i n mathematics.  69.0  74.0  17.  Math i s hard f o r me t o understand.  74.0  74.0  20.  I l i k e mathematics.  77.0  73.0  6.  I u s u a l l y expect t o do w e l l  (-) I n d i c a t e s  (-)  items s t a t e d i n the n e g a t i v e form T a b l e 21 A t t i t u d e s Toward Mathematics (Results a f t e r Median  Polishing)  Girls 6. 17. 20.  I u s u a l l y expect t o do w e l l i n mathematics.  Boys  Row  -2.5  2.5  -2.5  Math i s hard f o r me t o understand.  0.0  0.0  0.0  I l i k e mathematics.  2.0  -2.0  1.0  0.0  0.0  Column  (-) I n d i c a t e s  items s t a t e d i n the n e g a t i v e form  74.0 Grand  (-)  Page 64 G i r l s and T h e i r Mothers  In reponse t o the background item, "Does your mother use computers a t work o r a t home?", 25% o f t h e g i r l s responded "Yes", 58% responded "No",  and 15% d i d not know.  Data were  reviewed t o see i f t h e r e were any d i f f e r e n c e s between the responses t o t h e r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s o f g i r l s whose mothers use computers  ( p o t e n t i a l r o l e models) and g i r l s whose mothers  do not use computers.  These r e s u l t s can be found i n T a b l e 22.  T a b l e 22 G i r l s and T h e i r Mothers (Results i n %)  Mothers do use computers  I n t e r e s t i n and Enjoyment i n U s i n g Computers  Mothers do not use computers  86  85  75  61  82  74  87  75  80  75  79  72  A n x i e t y and Confidence About Computer Use P e r c e i v e d U s e f u l n e s s of Computers P e r c e i v e d Sex Roles i n A t t i t u d e s Toward Computers R e l a t i o n s h i p Between Mathematics and Computers A t t i t u d e s Toward Mathematics  Page 65 A p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e f o r each group o f g i r l s d e f i n e d u s i n g the equal t o or g r e a t e r than 50% explained e a r l i e r .  was  criteria,  Thus, p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e s were r e f l e c t e d i n  all  s i x r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s , f o r both s e t s o f respondents.  all  s i x r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s percentages were h i g h e r i n favour  of  In  g i r l s whose mothers do use computers and i n two cases, those  d i f f e r e n c e s were g r e a t e r than 10%.  These were " A n x i e t y and  Confidence About Computer Use" and " P e r c e i v e d Sex R o l e s i n A t t i t u d e s Toward  Computers".  R e s u l t s i n d i c a t e t h a t the g i r l s whose mothers use computers may have been i n f l u e n c e d by such a r o l e model.  These  g i r l s are more c o n f i d e n t about u s i n g and l e a r n i n g t o use computers and have s t r o n g e r p o s i t i v e views about t h e a p p r o p r i a t e n e s s o f computers f o r both sexes than g i r l s whose mothers do not use computers.  However, because the samples o f respondents a r e s m a l l , i t may not be p o s s i b l e t o g e n e r a l i z e these a t t i t u d e s t o a greater population.  The sample o f respondents f o r t h i s  background item c o n s i s t e d o f 3 6 g i r l s whose mothers do use computers and 83 g i r l s whose mothers do not use computers. Twenty-two computers.  g i r l s d i d not know whether t h e i r mothers used  Page 66 Home Computers  In response t o t h e background item, "Do you have a computer a t home?", 30% o f t h e s t u d e n t s responded "Yes" and 68% responded "No".  Data were reviewed t o see i f t h e r e were any  d i f f e r e n c e s between t h e responses t o t h e r e p o r t i n g  categories  of t h e s t u d e n t s based on whether o r not they had a computer a t home.  These r e s u l t s can be found i n Table 23.  T a b l e 23 Home Computers ( R e s u l t s i n %)  Students w i t h home computers  I n t e r e s t i n and Enjoyment i n U s i n g Computers  Students without home computers  87  85  A n x i e t y and Confidence About Computer Use  77  65  P e r c e i v e d U s e f u l n e s s o f Computers  81  77  P e r c e i v e d Sex R o l e s i n A t t i t u d e s Toward Computers  73  72  R e l a t i o n s h i p Between Mathematics and Computers  58  75  A t t i t u d e s Toward Mathematics  76  71  Page 67 I t was found t h a t reponses  i n a l l six reporting  c a t e g o r i e s , f o r both s e t s o f students, r e f l e c t e d a p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e , based  on t h e equal t o o r g r e a t e r than 50% c r i t e r i a .  In two r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s t h e d i f f e r e n c e s i n responses were g r e a t e r than 10%.  I n t h e "Anxiety and Confidence  About  Computer Use" category, 12% more students who have a home computer responded home computer.  p o s i t i v e l y than students who do not have a  I n t h e " R e l a t i o n s h i p Between Mathematics and  Computers" category, 17% more students who do not have a home computer responded  p o s i t i v e l y than students who have a home  computer.  I t would make sense t o assume t h a t students who have a computer a t home would have more hands-on time and e x p e r i e n c e w i t h computers, l e a d i n g t o a l e s s anxious, more c o n f i d e n t a t t i t u d e about u s i n g them.  A l s o , because those s t u d e n t s may  have g r e a t e r access t o a computer, they may be u s i n g them f o r a g r e a t e r v a r i e t y o f purposes.  They may have i n t e r p r e t e d t h e  items i n t h e " R e l a t i o n s h i p Between Mathematics and Computers" c a t e g o r y as e x c l u s i v e l y l i n k i n g mathematics and computers which may have l e d t o t h e d i f f e r e n c e s i n responses by t h e two groups of s t u d e n t s f o r t h a t category.  Page 68 Open-Response Items  Students were asked t o answer the f o l l o w i n g two response  open  questions:  1.  How you  do you t h i n k you are an a d u l t ?  c o u l d use  a computer when  2.  Do you t h i n k t h a t your mother and f a t h e r are e n t h u s i a s t i c about you l e a r n i n g t o use a computer? T e l l why or why not.  There were no apparent sex d i f f e r e n c e s i n response t o e i t h e r question.  Students r e l a t e d a number of ways t h a t they  thought they c o u l d , as a d u l t s , use intended  The most common  uses i n c l u d e d u s i n g a computer f o r t h e i r b u s i n e s s or  work, f i n a n c e s (games) and was  a computer.  such as b i l l s and  keeping r e c o r d s  and  taxes, files.  t y p i n g and w r i t i n g , A v a r i e t y of  mentioned; the most common by f a r was  c a r e e r s noted were a doctor, firm, l i b r a r i a n ,  fun  careers  a teacher.  Other  banker, policeman, worker i n a  f o r e s t f i r e ranger, n a v a l o f f i c e r and  law  flight  manager.  A large majority  of students f e l t t h a t t h e i r p a r e n t s  were e n t h u s i a s t i c about them l e a r n i n g t o use primary reason g i v e n was  t h a t l e a r n i n g t o use  be h e l p f u l i n the c h i l d ' s f u t u r e . were, as s t a t e d by students,  a computer.  The  a computer would  More s p e c i f i c responses  t h a t computers h e l p e d the  student  Page 69 learn  and become smarter.  "math" i n p a r t i c u l a r . t o t h i s second  A number o f students mentioned  Some o f t h e students who responded  q u e s t i o n , commented t h a t t h e i r p a r e n t s f e l t  the student should do h i s o r h e r own t h i n k i n g . responded  "no"  Others  "no" s t a t e d t h a t t h e i r p a r e n t s themselves  know much about computers o r "were not t h e type". a number o f students who responded relayed t h e i r parents' i n t e r e s t perhaps through t h e i r  children.  that  who  d i d not Conversely,  "yes" t o t h i s q u e s t i o n  to also learn  about computers,  Page 70 Chapter 5  SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS  Introduction  The  purpose o f t h i s study was t o determine i f t h e r e  were any s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s a t t h e Grade 4 l e v e l i n a t t i t u d e s toward computers.  Data were o b t a i n e d  hundred and n i n e t y students by means o f a containing  25 a t t i t u d e - d e t e r m i n i n g  from two  questionnaire  questions.  Items had been  grouped p r e v i o u s l y , but not as p a r t o f t h e q u e s t i o n n a i r e format, i n t o s i x r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s . questions  I n a d d i t i o n , two  r e q u i r i n g s u b j e c t i v e comments and e i g h t background  information  items were i n c l u d e d i n t h e q u e s t i o n n a i r e .  Educational  s i g n i f i c a n c e was determined f o r i n d i v i d u a l  items and r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s .  The author  predefined  responses t o t h e items t h a t were t o r e f l e c t p o s i t i v e attitudes. general,  I f 50% o r more o f t h e g i r l s o r boys, o r s t u d e n t s i n  responded i n t h a t manner, then i t c o u l d be s a i d t h a t  g i r l s o r boys o r students had a p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e toward t h a t item.  P o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e s i n r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s were  determined as w e l l , u s i n g a g r e a t e r than o r equal t o 50% criteria.  F o r a d d i t i o n a l a n a l y s i s , median p o l i s h i n g was used  Page 71 i n a n a l y s i n g the data t o determine any  significant differences  among the responses t o each r e p o r t i n g category as a whole as w e l l as each i n d i v i d u a l item w i t h i n a r e p o r t i n g category.  With r e s p e c t t o a l l s i x r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s , data were a n a l y s e d comparing g i r l s whose mothers use computers t o g i r l s whose mothers do not.  A l s o , responses o f students  have computers a t home were compared t o responses of who  do  who  students  not.  In a d d i t i o n t o the a n a l y s i s of i n d i v i d u a l items  and  r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s , other r e s u l t s from the q u e s t i o n n a i r e were viewed and compared. data percentages  Background data were a n a l y s e d u s i n g  f o r g i r l s ' and boys* responses.  raw  The  s u b j e c t i v e comments were read and grouped and r e c u r r i n g comments were r e p o r t e d .  Responses t o the t e a c h e r  questionnaire  p r o v i d e d i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t s e t the g e n e r a l background of the students completing  the q u e s t i o n n a i r e .  Reporting; C a t e g o r i e s  The  r e s u l t s of the a t t i t u d e items on the q u e s t i o n n a i r e  i n d i c a t e t h a t t h e r e were no s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n responses t o f i v e of the s i x r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s .  Girls  boys a t t h i s age have comparable p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e s toward  and  Page 72 computers w i t h r e g a r d t o " I n t e r e s t Computers", "Anxiety and "Perceived  i n and  Confidence About Computer  U s e f u l n e s s of Computers", and  Mathematics and  Computers" and  There were a l s o no  Enjoyment i n U s i n g  sex-related  Use",  "Relationship  " A t t i t u d e s Toward Mathematics". differences  i n the  reporting  c a t e g o r y , " A t t i t u d e s Toward Mathematics".  There were  s i g n i f i c a n t sex-related  category,  Sex  differences  i n one  Roles i n A t t i t u d e s Toward Computers".  w h i l e both g i r l s and c a t e g o r y , 22% attitude.  Between  I t was  "Perceived  found t h a t  boys have a p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e i n t h i s  more g i r l s than boys d i s p l a y e d  this positive  However, i n view o f the d i f f i c u l t y o f i n t e r p r e t i n g  these r e s u l t s , one c o n c l u d i n g t h a t one  cannot p r o v i d e a s t r o n g gender has  argument f o r  a stronger p o s i t i v e  s e x i s t ) a t t i t u d e than the o t h e r .  G i r l s and  (less  boys a t t h i s  f e e l i t i s j u s t as important f o r e i t h e r sex t o use  and  age  learn  about computers.  Individual  Items  Two i n responses. Attitudes  i n d i v i d u a l items r e v e a l e d These were both from the  sex-related "Perceived  Toward Computers" r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r y :  differences Sex  Roles i n  " I t i s more  important f o r g i r l s t o l e a r n about computers than f o r boys" " I t i s e a s i e r f o r g i r l s t o l e a r n t o use boys".  computers than f o r  For both of these items, both g i r l s and  i n a p o s i t i v e manner.  and  boys responded  However, i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o note t h a t  Page 73 for  the f i r s t of these items, 84% of the boys d i s a g r e e d w i t h  the item w h i l e o n l y 69% of the g i r l s d i d , and f o r the item, 82% o f the boys d i s a g r e e d and 64% of the disagreed.  second  girls  Both items were s t a t e d i n terms t h a t favoured  and i n both cases, approximately d i s a g r e e d w i t h the item.  15% more boys than  girls  girls  I t i s c l e a r t h a t the students are  responding d e f e n s i v e l y t o the wording.  S i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t s f o r students, of t h i s age i n g e n e r a l , were found on f o u r items.  Although the responses  to  each o f t h e s e items were p o s i t i v e , they were r e a c t e d t o i n s t r o n g e r terms, e i t h e r p o s i t i v e or n e g a t i v e , when compared t o the responses item  of the o t h e r items w i t h i n the c a t e g o r y .  One  i n the " I n t e r e s t i n and Enjoyment i n U s i n g Computers"  c a t e g o r y was T h i s was  "I would enjoy u s i n g computer games t o l e a r n " .  r e a c t e d t o i n a s i g n i f i c a n t l y weaker manner, although  s t i l l p o s i t i v e , than the o t h e r items i n t h i s c a t e g o r y .  Thus,  w h i l e s t u d e n t s would enjoy u s i n g computer games t o l e a r n ,  their  endorsement o f t h i s i d e a i s not as s t r o n g as t h a t of the o t h e r items w i t h i n t h i s category. two  There were s i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t s f o r  items i n the "Anxiety and Confidence About U s i n g Computers"  category.  In comparison t o the o t h e r items i n t h i s  s t u d e n t s responded s t r o n g e r terms.  t o "Computers sometimes s c a r e me"  S i n c e the item was  category, in  i n the n e g a t i v e form, the  i n d i c a t i o n i s t h a t computers c e r t a i n l y d i d not s c a r e the s t u d e n t s used  i n the study.  The o t h e r item i n t h i s  category  Page 74 t h a t produced computers". The  a s i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t was  "I have no t r o u b l e u s i n g  Only 51% of the students agreed w i t h t h i s  item.  f i n a l item i n which the responses were found t o be  s i g n i f i c a n t was category.  i n the " P e r c e i v e d U s e f u l n e s s of Computers"  The r e s u l t s were much weaker f o r the item "Computers  are b e s t used f o r p l a y i n g v i d e o games".  Only 53% of the  s t u d e n t s agreed w i t h t h i s item, i n comparison t o over 80% f o r all  o t h e r items w i t h i n t h i s  category.  Further Findings  Responses of g i r l s whose mothers do use computers g i r l s whose mothers do not use computers were compared.  and  In  view o f the s m a l l samples i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o g e n e r a l i z e beyond the sample used i n t h i s study.  P o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e s f o r both  g i r l s whose mothers do and do not use computers were in a l l s i x reporting categories.  reflected  In a l l s i x r e p o r t i n g  c a t e g o r i e s percentages were h i g h e r i n favour of g i r l s whose mothers do use computers and i n two were g r e a t e r than 10%. About Computer Use" Toward Computers".  cases, those  These were "Anxiety and  differences Confidence  and " P e r c e i v e d Sex Roles i n A t t i t u d e s  Page 75 R e s u l t s i n d i c a t e t h a t t h e g i r l s whose mothers use computers may have been i n f l u e n c e d by such a r o l e model.  These  g i r l s a r e more c o n f i d e n t about u s i n g and l e a r n i n g t o use computers and have s t r o n g e r p o s i t i v e views about t h e a p p r o p r i a t e n e s s o f computers f o r both sexes than g i r l s whose mothers do not use computers.  R e s u l t s were viewed and compared f o r s t u d e n t s based on whether o r n o t they had a computer a t home.  I t was found t h a t  reponses i n a l l s i x r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s , f o r both s e t s o f s t u d e n t s , r e f l e c t e d a p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e , based on t h e equal t o or  g r e a t e r than 50% c r i t e r i a .  I n two r e p o r t i n g c a t e g o r i e s t h e  d i f f e r e n c e s i n responses were g r e a t e r than 10%.  In the  " A n x i e t y and Confidence About Computer Use" c a t e g o r y , 12% more s t u d e n t s who have a home computer responded p o s i t i v e l y than s t u d e n t s who do n o t have a home computer.  In the "Relationship  Between Mathematics and Computers" category, 17% more s t u d e n t s who do n o t have a home computer responded p o s i t i v e l y than s t u d e n t s who have a home computer.  I t would make sense t o assume t h a t s t u d e n t s who have a computer a t home would have more hands-on time and e x p e r i e n c e w i t h computers, l e a d i n g t o a l e s s anxious, more c o n f i d e n t a t t i t u d e about u s i n g them.  A l s o , because those s t u d e n t s may  have g r e a t e r access t o a computer, they may be u s i n g them f o r a g r e a t e r v a r i e t y o f purposes.  They may have i n t e r p r e t e d t h e  Page 76 items i n t h e " R e l a t i o n s h i p Between Mathematics and Computers" c a t e g o r y as e x c l u s i v e l y l i n k i n g mathematics and computers which may have l e d t o t h e d i f f e r e n c e s i n responses by t h e two groups of  s t u d e n t s f o r t h a t category.  Conclusions  The r e s u l t s o f t h i s study show t h a t t h e r e appear t o be v e r y few s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n a t t i t u d e s toward computers among t e n y e a r o l d s .  Both g i r l s and boys d i s p l a y a s t r o n g  i n t e r e s t and enjoyment i n u s i n g computers.  Both show a  c o n f i d e n t a t t i t u d e about l e a r n i n g t o use and u s i n g computers. The u s e f u l n e s s o f computers i s p o s i t i v e l y viewed by both sexes.  G i r l s and boys r e a l i z e t h e importance o f computers t o  both sexes although approximately 20% more g i r l s t h a n boys displayed this positive attitude.  I t was noted t h a t each sex  tended t o respond d e f e n s i v e l y t o items worded n e g a t i v e l y about t h e i r own gender.  Both g i r l s and boys p e r c e i v e a p o s i t i v e  r e l a t i o n s h i p between t h e use o f computers and mathematics as w e l l as e x h i b i t i n g a p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e about mathematics  itself.  Students suggested a v a r i e t y o f ways t h a t they, as a d u l t s , c o u l d use a computer. was  The most common s t a t e d purpose  f o r use i n t h e i r work o r b u s i n e s s .  Most s t u d e n t s thought  t h e i r p a r e n t s were e n t h u s i a s t i c about them l e a r n i n g t o use a computer.  Again, t h e reasons g i v e n v a r i e d w i d e l y b u t common  Page 77 responses  included:  i t would h e l p i n the student's f u t u r e , and  i t would h e l p them l e a r n more.  Very few g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s c o u l d  be drawn from t h e two open response  questions.  The background i n f o r m a t i o n p r o v i d e d some b a s e l i n e data for  t h i s population.  Ninety-seven p e r c e n t o f t h e students have  used a computer b e f o r e w h i l e ninety-one p e r c e n t have used a computer a t s c h o o l .  About o n e - t h i r d o f the s t u d e n t s have a  computer a t home and approximately h a l f o f those who do not, r e p o r t t h a t t h e i r f a m i l i e s have c o n s i d e r e d buying a computer for  t h e home.  Twenty-two  p e r c e n t o f t h e students answered t h a t  t h e i r mothers use computers a t work o r a t home and 33% say t h a t t h e i r f a t h e r do.  E i g h t y - t h r e e p e r c e n t o f t h e s t u d e n t s claimed  to have p l a y e d games i n a v i d e o arcade.  Twelve p e r c e n t more  boys than g i r l s have p l a y e d games i n a v i d e o arcade and w h i l e 7% o f t h e boys have never done so, 2 0% o f the g i r l s have not.  The r e s u l t s i n the p r e c e d i n g paragraphs  indicate that  s t u d e n t s a t t h i s age c e r t a i n l y have exposure t o computers and are v e r y i n t e r e s t e d i n them.  The f i n d i n g o f so few s e x - r e l a t e d  d i f f e r e n c e s a t t h i s age i s a good one.  But t h e r e s u l t s i n the  area " P e r c e i v e d Sex Roles i n A t t i t u d e s Toward Computers" where s e x - r e l a t e d d i f f e r e n c e s d i d appear, suggest t h a t educators s h o u l d be aware o f t h e p o s s i b l e b e g i n n i n g o f a d i f f e r e n c e i n a t t i t u d e s toward computers between g i r l s and boys.  Page 78 Recommendations  To i n t e r p r e t the i n f o r m a t i o n from the 25 a t t i t u d e items and two There were few  open-response q u e s t i o n s was  a d i f f i c u l t task.  s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s among the r e s u l t s  where t h e r e were, i t was  d i f f i c u l t to generalize.  recommended t h a t w i t h students of t h i s age,  and  It is  a more thorough,  i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c study i n c l u d i n g i n t e r v i e w s and o b s e r v a t i o n s done which may  produce more r e a l i s t i c  and s p e c i f i c  be  information.  R e s u l t s of t h i s study have shown some s i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t s i n the area of sex d i f f e r e n c e s w i t h r e g a r d t o computers a t t h i s age  l e v e l and those areas where s i g n i f i c a n t  were found may  be pursued by f u r t h e r r e s e a r c h .  g i r l s and boys d i s p l a y e d a p o s i t i v e t h e r e was  results  Although  (non-sexist)  both  attitude,  a 22% d i f f e r e n c e i n the responses by each gender.  E i g h t y - f i v e p e r c e n t of the g i r l s d i s p l a y e d a p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e compared t o 63% of the boys.  I t would, be i n t e r e s t i n g t o  find  out e x a c t l y what t h i s d i f f e r e n c e i n responses means. I n t e r v i e w s may  be needed t o f i n d out i n more d e t a i l how  g i r l s and boys view t h e i r own  both  gender i n g e n e r a l , as w e l l as  o p p o s i t e gender i n r e l a t i o n s h i p t o computers.  A f u r t h e r i n - d e p t h study i s suggested  t o view the  e f f e c t s of mothers as r o l e models w i t h r e g a r d t o computers.  the  Page 79 T h i s c o u l d be extended the impact  t o i n c l u d e c h i l d r e n of both sexes  o f t h e i r p a r e n t s , t e a c h e r s and o t h e r s who  may  and serve  as r o l e models, g i v i n g c o n s i d e r a t i o n t o t h e i r gender.  There was  no attempt  made t o d e l v e i n t o the  strategies  and remedies b e i n g developed t o a l l e v i a t e gender i n e q u i t y a t the secondary examination  s c h o o l l e v e l i n the f i e l d  of these may  of computers.  An  be extremely u s e f u l , p a r t i c u l a r l y i f  educators are aware of them and i n c o r p o r a t e them w i t h of  a young age as a p r e v e n t a t i v e measure.  more aware of the i s s u e s of a c c e s s i b i l i t y ,  students  As educators become interest,  and  a b i l i t y w i t h r e g a r d t o computers, and are w i l l i n g t o a c t upon the i s s u e s , the gender e q u i t y q u e s t i o n i n the f i e l d computers may  become an unnecessary  among students of the age i n t h i s  area of concern;  study.  of certainly  Page 80 Bibliography A l v a r a d o , A . J . , Computer E d u c a t i o n f o r A l l Students. The Computing Teacher, 1984, 11 ( 8 ) , 14-15. Anderson, R.E. ; Hansen, T.P.; Johnson, D . C ; and K l a s s e n , D.L.; Minnesota Computer L i t e r a c y and Awareness Assessment; Form 8; S t . P a u l , MN: S p e c i a l P r o j e c t s , Minnesota E d u c a t i o n a l Computing Consortium; 1979. 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Access t o Computers. 1984a, 11 ( 8 ) , 24-27.  The Computing Teacher, 1984, The Computing Teacher.  F i s h e r , G. Acess t o Computers. Paper p r e s e n t e d a t 62nd N.C.T.M. Annual Meeinq, San F r a n s i s c o , C a l i f . , A p r i l , 1984, 1-3. G i l l i l a n d , K. EQUALS i n Computer Tehcnology. Teacher, 1984, 11 (8), 42-44.  The Computing  Hopkins, K.D. and G l a s s , G.V. B a s i c S t a t i s t i c s F o r The B e h a v i o r a l S c i e n c e s . Englewood C l i f f s : Prentice-Hall Inc., 1978  Page 81 Johnson, B.D. Female t e r r o r a t the t e r m i n a l . 1983.  Maclean's, J u l y ,  Johnson, David C , Anderson, Ronald E. Hansen, Thomas P., and K l a s s e n , D a n i e l , L. Computer L i t e r a c y - What i s it? Mathematics Teacher, February, 1980. Johnson, M.L. Mathematics E q u i t y : Teacher, November, 1983, 2.  Computers.  Arithmetic  K i e s l e r , S., S p r o u l l , L., and E c c l e s , J.S. Second-Class Citizens? Psychology Today, March, 1983. 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The  Miura, I.T. and Hess, R.D. E n r o l l m e n t D i f f e r e n c e s i n Computer Camps and Summer C l a s s e s . The Computing Teacher, 1984, 11 ( 8 ) , 22. Nordman, R. Women and Computers...The E d u c a t i o n a l l y Disadvantaged. The J o u r n a l o f CUEBC, 3 ( 3 ) , 1984, 37-38. Sanders, J.S. The Computer: Male, Female o r Androgynous? Computing Teacher, 1984, 11 ( 8 ) , 31-34.  The  Page 82 Schubert, J.G. and Bakke, T.W. P r a c t i c a l S o l u t i o n s t o Overcoming E q u i t y i n Computer Use. The Computing Teacher. 1984, 11 (8), 28-30. Tenbrink, T.D., EVALUATION a p r a c t i c a l guide f o r t e a c h e r s . McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1974. Velleman, P.P. and H o a g l i n , David C. A p p l i c a t i o n s , B a s i c s , and Computing o f E x p l o r a t o r y Data A n a l y s i s . Dusbury P r e s s , Boston, Masschusetts, 1981 Winkle, L.W. and Mathews, W.M. Computer E q u i t y Comes o f Age. Phi D e l t a Kappan, January, 1982, 314-315. Z a k a r i y a , S.B. In s c h o o l (as elsewhere), the r i c h get computers; the poor get p o o r e r . The American School Board J o u r n a l , March, 1984.  Page 83 APPENDIX A DIRECTIONS FOR ADMINISTERING THE ATTITUDE QUESTIONNAIRE 1.  I n d i c a t e t o your students t h a t t h i s q u e s t i o n n a i r e was designed a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia. I t s intent i s t o f i n d out how s c h o o l c h i l d r e n f e e l about computers.  2.  I t i s not a t e s t !  3.  Read over t h e d i r e c t i o n s and example t o g e t h e r .  4.  Encourage c a r e f u l r e a d i n g o f t h e items as some items a r e worded s i m i l a r l y b u t have q u i t e d i f f e r e n t meanings. Watch f o r double n e g a t i v e s i n some question-answer combinations.  5.  Encourage c o n t i n u a l r e a d i n g o f t h e s c a l e t o make sure t h a t answers a r e a p p r o p r i a t e l y p l a c e d .  6.  Encourage students t o w r i t e t h e q u e s t i o n n a i r e q u i e t l y . T h e i r shouts, o r moans and groans may i n f l u e n c e o t h e r s .  7.  I f students f e e l t h a t they do not know t h e answer t o a p a r t i c u l a r q u e s t i o n , they should make a good guess. Remember, t h i s q u e s t i o n n a i r e i s n o t t e s t i n g how much s t u d e n t s know about computers, b u t r a t h e r , what they t h i n k , and how they f e e l .  8.  Boys should answer q u e s t i o n s from t h e i r p o i n t o f view r a t h e r than a n t i c i p a t e a g i r l ' s r e a c t i o n , and v i c e - v e r s a .  9.  The q u e s t i o n n a i r e should not take l o n g e r than 15 t o 20 minutes. I f p o s s i b l e , a l l o w a l l students t o f i n i s h . The q u e s t i o n n a i r e has a t o t a l o f 4 pages.  Encourage students t o answer h o n e s t l y .  10. Students should check t h e i r papers over t o ensure t h a t they have n o t omitted any q u e s t i o n s and t h a t they have c i r c l e d o n l y one answer f o r each q u e s t i o n . 11. You may use your judgement i n answering any q u e s t i o n s o r d e f i n i n g any v o c a b u l a r l y o r p h r a s i n g . T r y n o t t o sound b i a s e d , o r l e a d i n g , i n your d e f i n i t i o n s .  THANK-YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION IN ADMINISTERING THIS QUESTIONNIARE! YOUR TIME AND EFFORT ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED!  Page 84 APPENDIX B  Date  Name Grade  Age  ATTITUDES ABOUT COMPUTERS T h i s i s a s c a l e t o measure how you f e e l about computers. Below you w i l l f i n d some statements about computers. Read each statement and then CIRCLE t h e c h o i c e which b e s t d e s c r i b e s how you f e e l about i t .  EXAMPLE:  Soccer i s a f u n s p o r t t o p l a y  a  b  c  d  P l e a s e be as honest as p o s s i b l e i n r a t i n g each statement. There i s no c o r r e c t answer1  1.  I would l i k e t o have my own computer...  2.  I am a b l e t o work w i t h computers as w e l l as most o t h e r s my age a  b  c  d  Boys l e a r n more by u s i n g a computer than g i r l s do a  b  c  d  3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.  a  b  e  d  U s i n g a computer w i l l h e l p me become b e t t e r a t mathematics  a  b  e  d  Computers a r e b e s t used f o r p l a y i n g videos  a  b  e  d  I u s u a l l y expect t o do w e l l i n mathematics  a  b  e  d  I t i s more important f o r boys t o l e a r n about computers than f o r g i r l s . . .  a  b  e  d  Computers sometimes s c a r e me  a  b  c  d  Page 85  9.  L e a r n i n g about computers w i l l h e l p me i n the future  a  b  e  d  10. I don't enjoy u s i n g computers i n s c h o o l  a  b  e  d  11. I would l i k e t o l e a r n more about computers  a  b  e  d  12. Computers can be u s e f u l i n many s u b j e c t areas  a  b  e  d  13. I would r a t h e r not use computers t o l e a r n mathematics  a  b  c  d  14. I t i s more important f o r g i r l s t o l e a r n about computers than f o r boys  a  b  c  d  15. Working w i t h a computer would p r o b a b l y make me f e e l uneasy o r tense  a  b  c  d  16. I would enjoy u s i n g computer games t o learn  a  b  c  d  17. Math i s hard f o r me t o understand  a  b  e  d  18. Computers a r e not u s e f u l i n l e a r n i n g mathematics  a  b  c  d  19. I t i s e a s i e r f o r g i r l s t o l e a r n t o use computers than f o r boys  a  b  c  d  20. I l i k e mathematics  a  b  e  d  a  b  e  d  22. I enjoy working w i t h computers  a  b  e  d  23. I have no t r o u b l e u s i n g computers 24. U s i n g computers i s more i n t e r e s t i n g f o r boys than f o r g i r l s 25. L e a r n i n g t o use a computer would be h a r d e r f o r me than most people  a  b  e  d  21. I t i s my guess t h a t I am not the k i n d o f person who works w e l l w i t h computers...  a  b  c  d  a  b  c  d  Page 86 COMMENTS 1.  How do you t h i n k you c o u l d use a computer when you are an adult?  2.  Do you t h i n k t h a t your mother and f a t h e r are e n t h u s i a s t i c about you l e a r n i n g t o use a computer? T e l l why or why n o t .  Page 87 BACKGROUND INFORMATION 1.  A r e you a boy o r a g i r l ?  2.  Have you ever used a computer b e f o r e ?  Yes  No  I don't know  3.  Have you ever used a computer a t school before  Yes  No  I don't know  Do you have a computer a t home?  Yes  No  I don't know  I f you do n o t have a computer a t home, has your f a m i l y c o n s i d e r e d buying one? (Don't answer t h i s one i f you a l r e a d y have a computer a t home.)  Yes  No.  I don't know  Does you mother use computers a t work o r a t home?  Yes  No  I don't know  Does you f a t h e r use computers a t work o r a t home?  Yes  No  I don't know  Have you ever p l a y e d games i n a v i d e o arcade?  Yes  No  I don't know  4.  8.  Boy  Girl  THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR HELP IN COMPLETING THIS QUESTIONNAIRE!  Page 88 APPENDIX C  Teacher  Questionnaire  The f o l l o w i n g q u e s t i o n s r e l a t e o n l y t o the c l a s s ( e s ) t o which the Computer A t t i t u d e Q u e s t i o n n a i r e was a d m i n i s t e r e d : 1.  Have you taught any computer u n i t s i n c l a s s t h i s year? so, b r i e f l y e x p l a i n .  2.  Have you used a computer a t a l l i n your classroom or have the students had access t o a computer d u r i n g c l a s s time? eg. Bank S t r e e t W r i t e r , o t h e r commercial software  3.  How  4.  Do you have a computer c l u b a t your s c h o o l ? r e s t r i c t e d t o c e r t a i n grades?  many computers do you have a t your  school?  Is i t  If  Page 89 Do you view y o u r s e l f as a r o l e model as a computer programmer o r a computer u s e r ; i e . ; do you ever t a l k about y o u r s e l f u s i n g a computer; do your students ever see you u s i n g a computer; do you run t h e computer c l u b ; e t c . ?  

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