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Challenging Gender Stereotypes Using Virtual Pedagogical Characters

Challenging Gender Stereotypes Using Virtual Pedagogical Characters
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Author(s): Agneta Gulz (Lund University, Sweden) and Magnus Haake (Lund University, Sweden)
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 20
Source title: Gender Issues in Learning and Working with Information Technology: Social Constructs and Cultural Contexts
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Shirley Booth (University of Gothenburg, Sweden), Sara Goodman (Lund University, Sweden) and Gill Kirkup (Open University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-813-5.ch007

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Abstract

This chapter explores motivational and cognitive effects of more neutral or androgynous-looking versus more feminine-looking and masculine-looking virtual characters. A user study is presented, in which 158 students, aged 17-19, encountered four virtual characters that were visually manipulated to represent gender stereotypicality versus androgyny. On the one hand we explored students’ attitudes towards the different characters as seen in how they ranked them as preferred presenters and articulated their arguments for doing so. On the other hand we looked for patterns as to which character(s) influenced female and male students most positively with respect to their attitude towards a university level computer engineering programme. Results from the study are presented and discussed. We conclude by pointing towards future research and potential within the area.

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