Computer geek versus computer chic: IT career and IT education


Pau, Reena, Argles, David, White, S.A. and Lovegrove, Gillian (2005) Computer geek versus computer chic: IT career and IT education. In, 6th International Women into Computing Conference, 14 - 16 Jul 2005.

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Description/Abstract

The number of women in the UK IT Industry is now down to 20% (SSDA 2004)A: a worrying fact since the IT Industry is currently facing a skills shortage . A contributing factor to this is the declining number of women in the IT Sectori(e-skills 2004). This paper explores whether there is a relationship between the ways IT is taught in schools and the pupils? perception of what a career in IT is really like. There was a particular focus upon pupils in Key Stage Two (preteen) and Key Stage Three (mid-teens) of the national curriculum because studies have shown that it is between the ages of 10-13 (SSDA 2004)ii that females lose interest in IT. Pupils are far more exposed IT at home and at school than ever before (Selwyn & Bullon, 2000)?, which is why it was an appropriate time to understand the influences of technologies. From conducting questionnaires, focus groups and observations in schools and organisations this paper focuses upon three main questions: do pupils perceive the IT Industry in the way that professionals do? Have feelings changed towards IT from preteen to teenagers? And how has the increase in IT within schools made an impact on pupils? The main findings of this paper show that due to the different experiences of pupils and IT professionals, the image of the IT Industry is unclear to pupils of all age groups. A keyword for pupils of both genders was ?boring?. Secondary Pupils found that there was not much variation in what they learnt in junior school, to what they are being taught at secondary school. Enjoyment of IT lessons decreases by the age of 14 for both genders, however girls lose interest at a much fast rate than boys do. Girls use enjoyment of lessons as a factor in career choices, where as boys view lesson enjoyment and career as different entities. The final section of this paper gives recommendations suggested by pupils and from analysing the results of this study.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: women into computing, it in schools, perceptions of it
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
L Education > L Education (General)
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Education
University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Engineering Sciences
ePrint ID: 176375
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2011 10:14
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 19:23
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/176375

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