Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Girls on Technology: A Study Brings Video Games into the Classroom to Address the Persistent Digital Gender Gap

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Girls on Technology: A Study Brings Video Games into the Classroom to Address the Persistent Digital Gender Gap

Article excerpt

The digital divide most often at issue is the one that separates schools with technology from schools without. But there is a second technological chasm that warrants the same attention: the one between girls and boys. The numbers are striking: Females comprise only 17 percent of computer science Advanced Placement test takers, 28 percent of computer science graduates, and 9 percent of engineering-related degrees. Overall, women make up just 35 percent of the IT workforce. Why do girls show a markedly lower interest in technology than boys, and can anything be done to equalize things?

This was the question at the heart of a study conducted by Richard Van Eck in cooperation with the Advanced Instructional Media Lab at the University of Memphis, and published in the online education journal Innovate (www.innovateonline.info). The AIM Lab attempted to find ways to engage girls in the use of technology and to see whether doing so changed the girls' feelings toward technology--and by association, math and science.

Using video games as a testing ground, Van Eck and his team split 92 fifth- and sixth-graders into small groups. …

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