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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Gender and grade similarities and differences in elementary school students in language referring to computers and computer programmes Jacobi, Darlene Marion


A four month qualitative study was conducted to investigate gender and grade similarities and differences in language; spoken, written and other symbols (art), referring to computers and computer programmes, among elementary school students. The subjects were a heterogeneous intact grade one class of twenty-five students and a heterogeneous intact grade six/seven class of twenty-one students from a small, lower socio-economic school in a large urban centre in British Columbia. Data was gathered over a period of four months through individual and group interviews and, from student responses to broad general questions, in the form of art, journal entries and creative writing. The study took place in the classrooms and in the computer laboratory which consisted of fifteen Commodore 64 computers and three printers. Programmes used were LOGO, KIDWRITER and two district developed programmes, EDITOR (word processing) and MUSIC SHOP. From the analysis of the data clear categories emerged. Findings suggest that: (1) students viewed the world of technology as largely a male domain/ (2) students did not view the use of computers as extraordinary but as a normal part of the everyday school experience/ (3) girls were dissatisfied with the limitations of the programmes, desiring those which featured the Arts and stressed creativity/ (4) Grade Six/Seven boys desired programmes with highly competitive, video-game formats in Mathematics and Spelling/ (5) boys realized the potential of the computer to be used to perform aggressive/violent acts/ (6) Grade One girls desired a computer laboratory environment resembling a spring garden/ (7) Grade Six/Seven girls believed they would be doing word processing as a part of their future jobs/ (8) Grade Six/Seven boys viewed word processing as a tool which would enable them to perform their "real" careers more effectively/and (9) Grade One students preferred typing stories on the computer to printing them by hand.

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