Elementary School Computer Culture: Gender and Age Differences in Student Reactions to Computer Use

A THESIS SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY OF THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA 

BY

Sólveig Jakobsdóttir

IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF THE DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

JUNE 1996

Synopsis of thesis submitted in 1996 with an application for 
the Qualitative Research Award from AECT (award was received in 1997)

PhD Thesis

FIRST PAGES

PREFACE.........................................................................

i

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .........................................................

ii

DEDICATION ................................................................................

iv

ABSTRACT ..................................................................................

v

TABLE OF CONTENTS ....................................................................

vi

LIST OF LIST OF TABLES ................................................................

xi

LIST OF FIGURES .........................................................................

xiv

CHAPTER 1:  INTRODUCTION 
A Statement of the Problem 
School Computer Cultures 
   External Factors 
   Internal Factors 
The Purpose of This Study 
Statement of the Research Questions 
The Researcher in Context 
An Outline of This Thesis

1

CHAPTER 2:  REVIEW OF LITERATURE 
The Seven Cases:  An Overview
Case 1:  Drill and Practice at a Teletype 
Case 2:  Home Computer Use 
Case 3:  Computer Equity Strategies
Case 4:  Constructing with LegoLogo
Case 5:  Access for Everyone to Tool Use with Personal Lap-Tops
Case 6:  CAI in Computer Labs
Case 7:  Learning About Computers
Conclusions and Questions

17


CHAPTER 3:  METHOD 
Participants 
Design 
Materials
Procedure
Data Analysis
Reliability and Validity

97

CHAPTER 4:  SCHOOL COMPUTER CULTURE AT LAKEWOOD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 

Background - External Factors 
Local Culture 
Community - School District - School 
Homes 

Computer Sub-Culture - Internal Factors 
School - Participants 
School - Physical Environment - Hardware 
Software 
Social Context 
Computer Access 
Computer Implementation 
Lakewood’s Computer Culture:  A Summary

  122

CHAPTER 5:  STUDENT REACTIONS 

Software Preferences 
Toys versus Tools 
Preference for Educational Software 
Preference for Games with Speed, Navigation, and Scoring Elements 
Logo Preference 
Summary of Gender Differences in Software Preferences 

Computer Use 
Creating with Computers 
Use of Documentation 
Computer-Related Expertise 
Summary of Computer Use 

Student Interaction 
Overview of the Spot Observations 
Quantity and Quality of Student Interaction 
Same-Sex Interaction versus Cross-Sex Interaction 
Non-Verbal Peer Interaction 
Dominance Signals 
Students' Attitudes toward Individual versus Pair Computer Use
Summary of Student Interaction 

Computer-Related Attitudes and Motivation 
Students' Attitudes:  Confidence versus Anxiety 
Motivation 
Summary of Attitudes and Motivation 

Summary of Student Reactions to Computer Use at Lakewood School 

197

 

CHAPTER 6:  SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION 

A Summary and Discussion of Gender and Age Differences in Student Reactions to Computer Use at Lakewood School

Gender-Related Computer Equity at Lakewood School

Other Findings

Conclusions

Limitations of the Study

Implications for Future Research and Practice 

282

 

REFERENCES 

313

APPENDICES

 

Appendix A

Overview of Study for the Information of the Staff 

322

Appendix B

Permission Letter 

324

Appendix C

Consent Statements 

326

Appendix D

Observation Sheets 

332

Appendix E

Sign-Up Sheet 

335

Appendix F

Regular Reaction Surveys (2) 

337

Appendix G

Choicetime Reaction Surveys (7) 

340

Appendix H

Fifth-Grade Attitude Survey 

348

Appendix I

Software Descriptions 

354

Appendix J

Letter to the Children 

363

Appendix K

Interview Questions for Staff 

363

Appendix L

Interview Questions for Students 

367

Appendix M

Observation Spreadsheet 

369

 

ã Sólveig Jakobsdóttir, soljak@khi.is. KHÍ v/Stakkahlíð
Á borðanum efst er ein uppáhaldsmyndin mín sem ég tók í Minnesota í desember 1987 af 6 fulltrúum jafnmargra heimsálfa (frá vinstri til hægri: ungfrú Evrópa, Ástralía, S.-Ameríka, N.-Ameríka, Asía og fremst er ungfrú Afríka).  Líta má á myndina sem nokkurs konar sameiningartákn.  Einnig er mynd af jaka í sólskini (soljak) sem tekin var við Jökulsárlón á Breiðamerkursandi 1980.