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ERIC Number: EJ875189
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0360-1315
Education and Career Pathways in Information Communication Technology: What Are Schoolgirls Saying?
Lasen, Michelle
Computers & Education, v54 n4 p1117-1126 May 2010
This paper highlights key themes which emerged from schoolgirls' responses to focus group questions regarding perceptions of Information Communication Technology (ICT) subjects in the Queensland senior secondary curriculum, primarily, Information Processing Technology (IPT) and Information Technology Systems (ITS). The 2006 focus group interviews comprised one component of a 3-year research project seeking to identify factors that deter females from ICT education and career pathways. Focus group data reveal that one barrier to selection of advanced ICT options was girls' experience of junior secondary school ICT subjects which had been typically delivered by teachers with limited expertise and constituted by mundane, repetitive tasks. Further, while Non Takers of senior ICT subjects acknowledged the pervasiveness of ICTs in the workplace, they were disinterested in a specialized ICT career path. Hence, rather than undertake advanced offerings of little relevance to career aspirations, Non Takers perceived that they could continue to hone their skills on a needs basis and, indeed, were routinely and purposefully using computers in their home settings. A lack of understanding of the different foci of IPT (i.e. programming and databases) and ITS (i.e. multimedia and web design) was evident among Non Takers, with many singularly associating senior ICT subjects with programming and other highly technical skills. Both Non Takers and Takers (who in the context of the focus groups were largely Takers of ITS) expressed an aversion to programming. It was the creative aspects of ITS which had attracted Takers to the subject and they were, in fact, enjoying its authentic, problem-based design tasks. Many Non Takers responded positively to interviewers' descriptions of ITS; the subject's broader appeal is evidenced in growing enrollments since its 2000 introduction in the senior curriculum. Findings indicate that schoolgirls' participation in ICT pathways may be well promoted through subjects that position and call for students to engage with ICTs as "enablers" in diverse, meaningful and creative human contexts. (Contains 5 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia