ERIC Number: ED454849
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Apr
Gender Differences in Computer Use and Attitudes on a Ubiquitous Computing Campus.
McCoy, Leah P.; Heafner, Tina L.; Burdick, Matthew G.; Nagle, Laura M.
As colleges and universities consider various options for wide scale "computerization," one southern liberal arts university has instituted a technology program that insures that all students have equal access to laptop computers. At this university, each student is issued his or her own IBM ThinkPad, and activities involving this computer are infused throughout the academic and social life of the campus. This study examined the computer uses and attitudes of male and female students who had experienced a technology-rich environment for four years. Participants in the study were students in the Class of 2000 at this ubiquitous computing university. Approximately 800 students were surveyed near the end of their senior year to obtain their self-reports of computer use and computer attitudes. Overall, use data indicated that students used the computer in various ways. Students reported that they used the computer "often" for: word processing (97%); e-mail for pleasure (98%); e-mail for classes (73%); and Web resources for classes (50%). For further analysis, the frequency of individual use was added and the following categories were created to form scores: Tool; Communication; Resources; Entertainment; and Total Use. These categories of use were compared for males and females using independent T-tests. Results showed that males were more frequent users in the categories of Resources, Entertainment, and Total Use. There were no significant differences for Tool Use or Communication. On the attitude survey items, 73% of the students reported that they "loved" computers, while 23% "liked" them, 4% "disliked" them, and 1% "hated" them. Eighty-three percent of the seniors felt that the ThinkPad had significantly impacted the campus culture, 75% felt that it had helped in their overall educational life, and 48% felt that it had helped in their overall social life. Responses on all of these attitude items were independent of gender. (Contains 17 references.) (AEF)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Seattle, WA, April 10-14, 2001).