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Girls and Computers - Yes We Can!: A Case Study on Improving Female Computer Confidence and Decreasing Gender Inequity in Computer Science with an Informal, Female Learning Community

Girls and Computers - Yes We Can!: A Case Study on Improving Female Computer Confidence and Decreasing Gender Inequity in Computer Science with an Informal, Female Learning Community
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Author(s): Misook Heo (Duquesne University, USA) and L. Monique Spradley-Myrick (Florida State University, USA)
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 18
Source title: Computer Engineering: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-456-7.ch504

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Abstract

This research was designed to increase the awareness of female students with regard to Computer Science (CS) as both a major and a career field. Five female students from a high school in a northeastern state were voluntarily recruited for a weekly, after-school computer club curriculum for one academic year. Over the project period, participants ventured through tasks relating to various technologies, thereby increasing their computer confidence. Collaboration preferences increased only when faced with both technical and content knowledge. Participants’ understanding of CS changed from abstract and superficial to more concrete, but disinterest in the major persisted. Finally, while the participants’ perceptions of gender differences changed, some of the self-reflections did not match their responses to structured questions. While the project impacted only a small sample, increased knowledge of the field of CS prevailed. If females are educated earlier, this may cause a noticeable shift in gender inequity amongst CS majors.

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