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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

Web 2.0 and GURLs

Presented by Dr. Lesley Farmer

California State University, Long Beach


what s the situation
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

so what s the problem
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?
what happens in schools
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.
using the web to engage teen girls
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.
tips to engage girls with tech
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!
focus on megasites
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
what do megasites look like
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.
what are the ten 10 topics
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
runner up topics
Runner-Up Topics
  • Sports
  • Current events
  • Money
  • Academics
  • Careers
  • … fewer than 10% talk about technology
how about the site names
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?
1 3 of domain names include the word teen or girl
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
commercial megasites
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)
benefits of commercial megasites
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
organizational megasites
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.
government and educational megasites
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
tipping point
Tipping Point
  • Female millenials in tech jobs
  • BinaryGirl.com
  • Blogging/webcasting
  • High school courses
  • More girls than boys have web pages
what can librarians do
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
  • 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/.