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Volume 11, Number 4
July/August 1995

Computers in the Classroom

Where Are All the Girls?

 

Amy Bruckman, a doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, tells a story about being at a large family gathering and visiting with her young male cousins who were crowded around a Nintendo game in an upstairs room. After a while, some of her young female cousins walked by, looked in, and were shocked.

"Amy!" the girls cried, tugging at her sleeve. "What are you doing in the Nintendo room? Girls aren't supposed to be here."

"That's a sad statement," says Bruckman, who is working on ways to get kids more involved with technology. "They have a very strong gender association with computer games."

"It's not a coincidence," notes Frances Morse, who is doing research at Harvard on girls and technology, "that one of the most popular Nintendo products is called Gameboy."

The gender connection doesn't end with games. Numerous studies have found inequities in technology use in schools. Boys not only tend to dominate computer use in classrooms but also greatly outnumber girls in computer science classes. Girls, consequently, don't receive the same exposure to technology.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.

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For Further Information

For Further Information

R. Anderson (ed.). Computers in American Schools: 1992: An Overview. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Department of Sociology, 1993.

M. Koch. "No Girls Allowed." Technos 3, no. 3 (Fall 1994): 14-19.

J. Mark. "Beyond Equal Access: Gender Equity in Learning with Computers." Newton, MA: Women's Education and Equity Act Publishing Center, 1992.

S. Papert and S. Turkle. "Epistemological Pluralism: Styles and Voices Within the Computer Culture." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 16, no. 1 (Fall 1990): 128-157.

R. Sutton. "Equity and Computers in the Schools: A Decade of Research." Review of Educational Research 61, no. 4 (Winter 1991): 475-503.

S. Turkle. "Computational Reticence: Why Women Fear the Intimate Machine." In C. Kramerae (ed.), Technology and Women's Voices. New York: Pergamon Press, 1986.