The article titled “Gender Differences in Computer Attitudes, Ability, and Use in the Elementary Classroom” is written by Dr. Robin Kay who is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at the University Of Ontario Institute Of Technology. He has published several other articles in the field of computers and their use in education. He has also presented numerous papers at conferences both locally and internationally. Dr. Robin Kay has taught computers, mathematics, and technology for over 15 years of his career.
At the end of the article Dr. Robin Kay states that the main reason for research is to assist in seeing all students develop an ability to adapt to changes in technology so that all can enjoy the benefits of the wealth of electronic information. According to the aforementioned article, Dr. Robin Kay asserts that computers play a vital and prominent role in society and it is therefore important that both boys and girls are given equal opportunities in learning, working with and benefiting from computer technology.
He however notes that according to research carried out by Whitley, there is a gender imbalance in study and use of computer technology whereby computers are viewed as masculine tools. Females are less confident than boys in use of computer technology. Differences in perception of computers and computer technology can be largely attributed to the traditional attitudes that tend to spare females from technical issues thus females are generally less interested in technological issues.
In the same breath, it can be concluded that even in the few cases when females are interested in computers, they are not amply encouraged to pursue this interest. Dr. Robin Kay’s research notes that existing research has not addressed the differences in computer ability between boys and girls particularly in elementary school. Lack of initial support to females at the tender age of elementary school is blamed as the genesis of the gender imbalance.
Dr. Robin Kay has gone to great lengths to offer proposals and solutions to help eliminate the issue of gender imbalance The disparity between males and females and their related abilities in usage of computers and computer technology should be addressed at the grassroots level whereby efforts to encourage females to take interest should be made. It is therefore evident that Dr.
Robin Kay views the gender imbalance in computer usage as a matter of perception and not practicality meaning that neither gender has an upper hand against the other if computers and computer technology were approached on an even ground. The idea of same sex computer groups would be particularly effective because it would help in alienating males who tend to be faster in grasping technological issues from females who take longer.
This alongside with revised computer syllabuses for elementary schools and positive attitudes from the teachers will go a long way in bridging the gender imbalance in computer usage and benefit in elementary schools. In conclusion, Dr. Robin Kay has done a considerably good job given the fact that the scope of the research itself is limited. Gender imbalance in computer usage is not a research topic that would generate numerous noteworthy points but Dr. Robin Kay has done an outstanding job in enlightening readers on an otherwise dull topic.
The solutions given to the problem of gender imbalance are workable even though they are generally limited to addressing the gender imbalance in computers and computer technology at the elementary school level: not much has been done to assist female victims of the imbalance. Affirmative action could be adopted to address the problem of females who have limited or little knowledge of computers when the females are put on the same platform with their male counterparts.
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