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ERIC Number: ED306951
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Feb
Pages: 16
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Inequalities in Classroom Computer Software.
Biraimah, Karen
Biases based on gender and ethnicity in computer software available to schools were investigated in this study. A random sample of 15 software programs were selected and evaluated on the bases of gender and ethnicity. Data were gathered on the number of male and female characters portrayed and on the cross-cultural dimensions of the software in order to determine if it would appeal to a cross section of children from varying backgrounds, or whether it had been prepared with a particular audience in mind, e.g., Anglo-Saxon males. The data showed that, from a quantitative perspective, patterns of gender and ethnic imbalance previously documented in textbooks are also present in current educational software available to students. Of the 1,942 characters noted in the graphics and text of the evaluated software, 63% were males and only 3% of the characters could be identified as ethnic. In order to clearly understand the dimensions of these biases, a quantitative examination of the roles and activities found within the software was undertaken. Similar ethnicity and gender trends were found, with males dominating the character roles (63%) while observable ethnic characters were limited to only 3%. When these roles and activities were divided into separate categories, males were portrayed in more categories, and as more active characters, including adventure, military, and science and technology roles, while females were limited to 41 more passive roles. Ethnic roles were also limited, but ethnic female roles were even more limited than ethnic males roles. (5 tables, a list of the 15 evaluated software packages, and 6 references) (EW)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A