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Rethinking the ‘problem’ of gender and IT schooling: discourses in literature

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A review of the international research literature pertaining to gender and information technology (IT) schooling reveals changing ideas about what constitutes a gender problem. Much of the literature is concerned with gender differences in computer uses and interests and perceived disadvantages accruing to females as a result of these differences. This reflects and contributes to a dominant liberal equity discourse. Growing awareness of the limitations of earlier research, the changing nature of IT schooling, contradictions in students’ computer interests and dissatisfaction with simplistic explanations has led, however, to post‐structural rethinking and the emergence of a critical discourse. Assumptions of essential differences and deficit ways of thinking are challenged. Persistent gender differences in IT use are explored in their social complexity and the very notion that there is a gender problem is problematised. This presents a different and ultimately more satisfying way of thinking about the problem of gender and IT schooling.
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Keywords: academic discourse; computer science education; gender; gender issues; information science education; information technology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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