Is change on the horizon for female high school students when it comes to ICT?

PhD Thesis


Morton, Scott. 2019. Is change on the horizon for female high school students when it comes to ICT? PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/ds0t-py05
Title

Is change on the horizon for female high school students when it comes to ICT?

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorMorton, Scott
SupervisorRedmond, Petrea
Albion, Peter
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages291
Year2019
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/ds0t-py05
Abstract

This thesis explores girls’ perceptions and attitudes towards ICT at high school. It asked what factors discourage or encourage participation of girls at year 11 of high school towards ICT education. The exploration involved a mixed methodology that utilised a survey and a semi structured interview to highlight findings in the survey.

It was found that girls by year 11 lose interest in ICT, this came down to many factors, such as girls perception of the industry not being diverse in people or culture, their attitude towards the subject being dull or boring, the subject not catering for creativity, innovation or imagination, the subject was just programming and was too technical. All these factors and attitudes add to the strong stereotypical image that year 11 girls had of ICT. This stereotypical image also impacted on the girls’ self-confidence around ICT as they perceived the subject to be coding and technical, which gave the girls a negative perception of ICT.

It can be shown that there are many perceptions and attitudes towards ICT that have an effect on year 11 girls to a greater or lesser degree, these factors include, prior experience, self-confidence, culture and generations. Girls find themselves dismissing ICT early on in their school life because of negative perceptions and attitudes. It was found that from the results of the employees their finding aligned with what was already known regarding issues and problems within the sector. These finding helped to re-enforce those stereotypes and perceptions. However, an interesting finding that emerged from the results showed that role models for girls has a very limited life span, as girls became employees within companies they look less towards role models personally and from a career perspective.

It was clear from the results that girls at year 11 of high school were discouraged more than encouraged by perceptions and attitudes towards ICT. Girls had already made their minds up by year 11 that ICT was not the right option or career choice to follow. To make a difference for girls in ICT, schools need to start looking at promoting ICT as being creative, imaginative and getting students working on projects that they are passionate about in the first few years of high school.

Keywordsfemales, ICT, high school, stereotyping, role models, technology
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390405. Educational technology and computing
390306. Secondary education
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Education
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https://research.usq.edu.au/item/q5yw2/is-change-on-the-horizon-for-female-high-school-students-when-it-comes-to-ict

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