Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another interesting Gender difference...

I was reading through the article [PDF] for the Day 7 class and wondered if things have changed since its publication. And I also wondered why my personal experience doesn't jive with the notion that men are better than women when it comes to technology. My daughter is quite proficient (email, MSN, Powerpoint, iMovie, iDVD, photoshop, etc.) and my wife is taking TLITE. When I observe students in my school, the girls are every bit as interested in being on the computer as the guys. (Although, I must add that the boys indulge in more "geek-speak" regarding games and such.)

My questions prompted me to go looking for additional articles on this topic. Maybe if I found some more recent examples, my questions would be answered.

It occurred to me that much of the data I've seen seems to come from self-reporting. (i.e. Students report how often they think they log on, what they believe their level of proficiency is and how comfortable they feel with the technology.)

In my browsing, I came across an article in the Seattle Times (click here) that has an interesting insight. Northwestern University sociologist Eszter Hargittai reports that when surveying groups of students, she found that the men tended to overestimate their abilities, while the women tended to underestimate theirs. Hargittai concludes that it may not be the technical know-how that is different, just each gender's perception of ability. When it comes to what students are actually able to do, their skills were comparable.

Very interesting.


scrapea&happy said...


Gordon I have been thinking a lot about your very last statement as well. I think a lot of time the perceptions towards technology come from more deeply rooted perceptions of how one should perceive his or her own talents.

Ken said...

I agree. Working in the faculty of education at SFU Burnaby, in the Learning Kit Lab for four years I was surrounded by very tech-savvy women. Most of the students and researchers in my lab were women.

So that has been my experience. It seems to me that women are well represented in technology, but I wasn't sure if my experience was an anomaly or not.