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Clara - Research Proposal

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 2 months ago

Clara Tsui - March 11th 2007 



Understanding the Digital Division Between Genders



Topic/Question Interest:


            With major technological advances occurring constantly, Digital Literacy has become a popular topic of research. However, the focus of Digital Literacy that interests me is the "Digital Divide." There are many Digital Divisions: culture, age, gender, social status, and wealth. Gender inequality, an extremely controversial and interesting issue, are always being discussed and researched. I would like to explore the Digital division between the female and male; whether males or females are considered "more" digitally literate and the reasons why they are considered "more" literate. I would also like to research the difference between gender digital learning; events and experiences in classrooms, and teacher-student interactions [differences between males and females].





            Cooper, Joel, and Kimberlee D. Weaver. Gender and Computers: Understanding the Digital Divide. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc., 2003. 



Article/Book Summary:


             Gender and Computers: Understanding the Digital Divide is intended to appeal to those who are particularly interested in computer science (humanities computer interaction) gender differences. Dr. Joel Cooper and Dr. Kimberlee D. Weaver present evidence, showing that girls and young women are being "left behind on the road to information technology" (citation).  Not only does this book discuss the Digital divide, "the unequal opportunity and unequal attention that disenfranchises girls from technological revolution" (citation), but it also provides recommendations or "guidelines" for overcoming gender division in Digital Literacy (emphasis mine). Gender and Computers: Understanding the Digital Divide is based on researched materials and events. The book explains many factors that contribute to the gender differences in Digital Literacy.


            Dr. Joel Cooper and Dr. Kimberlee D. Weaver note that "females experience a high level of anxiety when they work with computer programs that have been designed with the features that are attractive to boys" (43). Outlining several possible reasons for gender differences in reaction to computers: "girls are less involved with video games as an extracurricular activity, they are not as used to or comfortable with the video game-like "bells and whistles" that characterize many of the computer-assisted instructional programs being used in today's classroom" (43). Dr. Cooper and Dr. Weaver state that "most computer tasks are male-orientated even beyond their video game-like qualities - have many formal features that male prefer" (43). Having high anxiety when working with computers, researchers predict that girls, "on average, will end up performing less well on school tasks that take place on the computer or the Internet" (43).


            In chapter 3, Gender and Computers: Understanding the Digital Divide, explores the social context of computing: the sex composition of computer classes, and interaction between boys and girls in unequal classrooms. Chapter 4 talks about the expectancies and the computer: self-fulfilling prophecies, girls, and computing, and performance attributions and information technology. Chapter 5 states the stereotype threat: the Digital divide and the stereotype. Chapter 6 and 7 provide "solutions" for overcoming the Digital division between females and males. Overall, Gender and Computers: Understanding the Digital Divide provide great detail about Digital division between males and females.








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