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Gender and computer programming: teaching and learning strategies designed to increase the engagement of girls

McAdams, T. (2018) Gender and computer programming: teaching and learning strategies designed to increase the engagement of girls. EdD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

The purpose of this research was to examine why so many girls decided to stop studying computer programming when they transition from middle school to senior school. This thesis examined ability and gender attitudes towards computer programming in middle school students at an International school in South Korea. In this study, 194 students in Year 8 and Year 9 in single-sex classes were taught Python and HTML5/CSS using a variety of teaching and learning strategies including tutorials, problem-based learning, tasks that included visual design, game-based learning, and storytelling. At the year-end, participants were given a computer programming assessment, with girls, relative to boys, demonstrating significantly greater computer programming ability. There was no difference between genders in the mostable programmers. Student opinions were gathered from questionnaires and group interviews. Findings showed that there was a gender difference in preferred learning strategies, with girls enjoying computer programming incorporating visual design, storytelling, and problem-based projects more than the boys. Further, there was no significant gender difference in enjoyment, confidence, or anxiety after a year of programming using the various teaching and learning strategies. Boys and girls did not differ in their reasons for choosing to study a subject from the following list (parents’ opinions; friends’ opinions; teachers’ opinions; useful life skills; lesson enjoyment; career/university skills; role models). The biggest influencing factor for both genders was lesson enjoyment and the opinion of friends was the least influential factor. The findings indicated that if computer programming is taught using the preferred teaching and learning strategies more girls are likely to choose to continue studying computer programming. In this study, the number of Year 9 girls choosing to continue studying computer programming increased from 5 girls in the first year (13% of the total) to 17 girls (38% of the total).

Item Type:Thesis (EdD)
Thesis Supervisor:Trakulphadetkrai, N. V. and Powell, D.
Thesis/Report Department:Institute of Education
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education
ID Code:84811

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