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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 l.jpg

Web 2.0 and GURLs

Presented by Dr. Lesley Farmer

California State University, Long Beach


What s the situation l.jpg
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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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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

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Runner-Up Topics

  • Sports

  • Current events

  • Money

  • Academics

  • Careers

  • … fewer than 10% talk about technology

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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?

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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

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Commercial Megasites “Girl”

  • 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)

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Benefits of Commercial Megasites “Girl”

  • 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

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Organizational Megasites “Girl”

  • 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.

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Government and Educational Megasites “Girl”

  • 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

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Tipping Point “Girl”

  • Female millenials in tech jobs

  • BinaryGirl.com

  • Blogging/webcasting

  • High school courses

  • More girls than boys have web pages

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What Can Librarians Do? “Girl”

  • 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

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References “Girl”

  • 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/.