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Web 2.0 and GURLs . Presented by Dr. Lesley Farmer California State University, Long Beach lfarmer@csulb.edu. What’s the Situation?. Are girls interested in technology? YES! About 67% of 9-12 year old girls do and over 90% of 13-17 year old girls do Do they use it the same way boys do?

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Web 2.0 and GURLs


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  1. Web 2.0 and GURLs Presented by Dr. Lesley Farmer California State University, Long Beach lfarmer@csulb.edu

  2. What’s the Situation? Are girls interested in technology? YES! About 67% of 9-12 year old girls do and over 90% of 13-17 year old girls do Do they use it the same way boys do? NO! Girls use it more for education and communication; boys use it for entertainment

  3. So What’s the Problem?? • Girls don’t like the computer culture: • They find programming to be boring • They don’t like the nature of most computer games • They see few female role models • And their attitude becomes more problematic when they hit adolescence because of social issues… • … by the way, did you know that parents are more likely to buy computers for boys than girls?

  4. What Happens in Schools? • Technology-enhanced projects are gender-neutral or more male oriented. • Girls are discouraged from taking advanced tech courses. • Girls lack info about the impact of technology on salaries and promotions. • Girls tend to classify all tech jobs as masculine.

  5. Using the Web to Engage Teen Girls • ¾ of teen girls use the Internet. • Business, organizations and education build web sites to attract teen girls. • Companies are selling “girlie” equipment. • Marketeers are reaching out to teens to get information about current trends.

  6. Tips to Engage Girls with Tech • Provide choice • Get the girls’ input – and act on it • Make it social: encourage buddy learning • Focus on communication – and human relationships • Encourage intellectual risk-taking • Emphasize effort more than mastery • Have fun!

  7. Focus on Megasites • What happens when searching for “teen girls and technology”? • Lots of news, programs, AND • megasites that link to many other web sites: a likely place for girls to start surfing, particularly if they’re looking on their own

  8. What Do Megasites Look Like? • Pretty much the same: pages of text arranged alphabetically, like this: http://dmoz.org/Kids_and_Teens/Teen_Life/Girls_Only • … and pretty much to the same web sites. • DMOZ is an Open Directory Project, and is the basis for dozens of these teen girl megasites.

  9. What Are the Ten 10 Topics? • Magazines • Online communication (chat, blogs) • Advice … and gossip • Teen issues (relationships, appearance, self-esteem, drug abuse, etc.) • Sex • Health and fitness • Fashion and beauty • Entertainment • Recreation and pastimes • Occult

  10. Runner-Up Topics • Sports • Current events • Money • Academics • Careers • … fewer than 10% talk about technology

  11. How About the Site Names? • www.gURL.com • www.girlslife.com • www.girlsplace.com • www.girlsite.com • www.girland.com • Can you tell them apart?

  12. 1/3 of Domain Names include the word “Teen” or “Girl” • How many ways can you spell “girl”? • Girls • Gurl • Grrl • Grrrls • Girlz • Gurlz • … there’s also Babz, Chicks, and Minx

  13. Commercial Megasites • These are flashier, better organized, and more fun!: http://www.go-girl.com • The covert agenda is to sell products and to gather data (through cookies, surveys, etc.) • Some are highly interactive, like this one (can you guess who owns this?) http://www.girltech.com • The creator is Radica games (electronic entertainment)

  14. Benefits of Commercial Megasites • Some give useful info: health, teen issues, technology support • Tech industries partner with education and government to prepare girls for tech jobs: • http://www.ignite-us.org • http://www.girlsforachange.org • … just teach girls how to view them critically

  15. Organizational Megasites • Female advocacy groups have created some very good web sites, although they’re not as glitzy as commercial ones: • http://www.girlsbestfriend.org/artman/publish/links_girls.shtml • http://www.engineergirl.org • http://www.techup.org/ • Girl Scouts has national, council, and troop sites that focus on technology.

  16. Government and Educational Megasites • Education and government support teen girl engagement in technology through projects and web sites: • http://www.smartgirl.org • http://www.girlpower.gov • http://research.umbc.edu/~korenman/wmst/links_girls.html -- I really like this one • http://mercury.mvhs.net/resources/resources_for_girls.html -- made by teens

  17. Tipping Point • Female millenials in tech jobs • BinaryGirl.com • Blogging/webcasting • High school courses • More girls than boys have web pages

  18. What Can Librarians Do? • Bookmark megasites to attract girls when they use the Internet – make them easy to find! • Include these megasites on school portals • Link to projects that support girls’ career exploration • Alert the school community about these megasites • Develop learning activities that use these megasites • Teach information literacy using these megasites

  19. References • American Association of University Women (2000). Tech-savvy: Educating girls in the new computer age. Washington, DC: AAUW. • Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. (2003). Girls go tech. New York: Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. http://girlscouts.org/girlsgotech/index.html • Hackbarth, S. (2001, April). Changes in primary students’ computer literacy as a function of classroom use and gender. TechTrends, 45(4), 19-27. • Koszalka, T. (2002). Technology resources as a mediating factor in career interest development. Educational Technology & Society, 5(2), 29-38. • National School Boards Foundation. (2003). Safe & smart. Alexandria, VA: NSBF. • Notess, G. (2003, Oct. 13). Search engine showdown reviews. • Silverman, S. & Pritchard, A.M. (1999, Sept. 17).  Building their future: Girls and technology education in Connecticut.  Digital Library and Archives. http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JTE/v7n2/silverman.jte-v7n2.html • UNICEF. (2003). Girls’ education: Focus on technology. New York: UNICEF. http://www.unicef.org/girlseducation/index_focus_technology.html • U. S. Department of Commerce. (2002). A nation online: How Americans are expanding their use of the Internet. Washington, DC: U. S. Dept. of Commerce. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/dn/.