Computer culture in Icelandic school: Need to promote gender-related equity Dr. Sólveig Jakobsdóttir, associate professor, Iceland University of Education ESRC – seminar, Keele 2000
School computer culture – factors that affect whether gender differences emerge in use and reactions to computer • Internal factors: students (age, experience, believes, values), social factors, software and technology, access and environment, the teacher and ways of teaching, computer implementation • External factors: Related to society, homes, school district,..
School computer culture – gender differences in skills, attitudes,.. • Pilot study in spring of 1998, 6 schools in the Westfjords, ~198 nem (8.-10.grade, 13-16) • Main study, Nov. 1998, 9 primary&middle schools. 1 high school ~750 s’s (5.-10. grade, 1.-4.year, 63% from grades 8.-10.) • Follow-up study, jan. 2000, 2 Westfjords schools, 33 s’s. from 10th grade.
What was the situation in 1998? • Skills by gender, age and school • Confidence • Computer use at home and school
Gender differences in self-evaluated skills by school, Nov 1998 (8.-10.grade), Nov. 1998
What appears to affect level of (self-evaluated) skills the most? • Especially factors that are connected with home use (e.g. no. of software categories) • Also various attitudes, e.g. confidence.
Why are the home factors so strong? • Home use is much more frequent that school use, (see picture that shows use of computer more than 2 hours a week in home vs. school and for boys vs. girls)
Ratio of boys that report using computers a lot much higher than among those saying they use computers little
How reliable is the self-evaluation instrument (list of skills) Jan. 2000? • 8 self-evaluated skills compared to actual performance test on those – similar results?
Yes, but… • Appear to be a good assessment for GROUP of SKILLS for GROUPS of boys AND girls. • Appears to be a good assessment for GROUP of SKILLS for INDIVIDUAL BOYS (high correlation) but NOT individual girls (correlation poor) • Appears to be a poor assessment for INDIVIDUAL SKILLS for INDIVIDUAL boys and girls
What to do? • Icelandic schools are required to ensure the equal rights of the sexes and equally prepare them for active participation in the work life and shaping of the society (Curriculum for primary school 1999a, p. 16). • It is especially considered important for schools to promote ICT-related equlity/equity (e.g. evident in the new curriculum, a special section)
Examples of projects to increase equity- Jenter paa veven (girls on the web) Aamot primary school in Norwayhttp://www.amot.gs.hm.no/ • Part of IT learning sex segregated • Special girl+mother nights in the school computer lab. • Use of various tools taught but special emphasis on the Internet and communications • Students, not the least the girls, were especially asked to participate in the creation of the schoolweb and to build information and resource bank. • Girls’ projects made visible.
Iceland – should we do similar things in our schools? • It is highly probable that many schools could benefit from such projects. • No one magic solution, the problem is complicated. • Best to get as many groups as possible involved including – school administrator, parents, teachers, students, and last but not least the girls themselves. There was an interesting discussion about the project Jenter paa veven on the European schoolnet, see: http://www.en.eun.org