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THE GENDER GAP - ANOTHER DIGITAL DIVIDE? “Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age” A review of the report published by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation 2000

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The gender gap another digital divide l.jpg


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“Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age”

A review of the report published by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation


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Presented by Willie Pattilloin fulfillment of requirements for “Education for a Democratic, Pluralistic Society - EDTE 251”Summer session, 2003

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Click here to view an Executive Summary of this report.Click here to view an Executive Summary of previous research on the gender gap in school.

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This report is the result of two years of work by the AAUW Educational Foundation Commission on Technology

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The commission of fourteen people:

  • used an on-line survey of 900 teachers

  • conducted focus group research with more than 70 girls

  • reviewed the existing research

  • brought in their own expertise as researchers, educators, journalists, and entrepreneurs

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The commission found that girls were not only underrepresented in computer classes and technology fields, but that there were other, boarder issues of concern.

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According to the report, females represent:

  • 17% of students taking the AP Computer Science test

  • 20% of IT professionals

  • less than 28% of the computer science bachelor’s degrees

  • 9% of the recipients of engineering-related bachelor’s degrees

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It is interesting to note that the percentage of women receiving bachelor’s degrees in computer science actually decreased nine percentage points in the eight years prior to the report.

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Girls have concerns about:

  • the types of software available

  • the way technology classes are taught

  • the goals for using computer technology

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Teachers have concerns about:

  • the quality of educational software

  • the lack of quality professional development

  • the lack of prompt and adequate technical assistance

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The commission found:

  • females have been labeled “computer-phobic because they are not well represented in technology classes and clubs

  • girls most often are enrolled in courses on computer “tools”

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  • all software should feature simulation, strategy and interaction without being redundant or violent

  • software themes should be universal, not gender specific

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Computer Literacy:

  • all students should be trained in computer skills, the “how and why” of technology, and in the use of technology to solve complex problems or to complete multi-faceted projects

  • use of technology must take place across the curriculum

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Computer Education:

  • teachers must be trained to develop and use classroom material and teaching styles that incorporate all aspects of computer technology

  • stakeholders in the educational community must be educated on issues of equality and technology

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Career Education:

  • emphasis must be placed on the increasing use of technology in all career fields

  • the social and interactive aspects of the use of technology in the world of work must be emphasized

  • females must be actively recruited for high-tech positions

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“When it comes to today’s computer culture, the bottom line is that while more girls are on the train, they aren’t the ones driving….”

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“…To get girls ‘under the hood’ of technology, they need to see that it gets them where they want to go. And for a large part of the population, that process must start in the classroom.”Pamela HaagAAUW Foundation Director

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