Exploring students’ stereotypes regarding computer science and stimulating reflection on roles of women in IT

Exploring students’ stereotypes regarding computer science and stimulating reflection on roles of women in IT

Abstract

The under-representation of women in IT has multiple possible causes, ranging from sociocultural aspects to individual dispositions and social attribution. This full research to practice paper explores secondary school students’ (age 12-15) stereotypical perspectives of computer scientists and possible ways to challenge them. The major goal is to let young students form a more accurate concept of a computer science professionals by alleviating distorted images, often transmitted through media and the environment. Students who might not think of themselves as fitting in the prevalent stereotype of a computer scientist and may even lose interest in the field. Consequently, our approach challenges stereotypes in order to make any effort to raise young students’ interest in computer science and in pursuing careers in this field. As part of this endeavor, we analyzed the drawings and descriptions of IT professionals made by 87 students aged 12-15 to determine what sets of preconceived perspectives and misconceptions are present in the learners' minds regarding persons in the IT profession. Our results have shown that that stereotypical views on IT actually exist in students' mindsets, but are subject to change when systematically challenged in a friendly and safe atmosphere. Aside of the scientific contribution, the paper aims to inspire and support educators in their efforts to help women and underrepresented groups in computing outgrow inaccurate stereotypes and to uncover young students’ potential interest in the field. With this we aim to contribute to overcoming the gender imbalance and foster more equality in the occupational field of information technologies. Strategically, by creating a more sensitive, diverse and harmonious future that computer scientists knowingly and unknowingly co-shape.

Grafik Top
Authors
  • Comber, Oswald
  • Motschnig, Renate
  • Göbl, Barbara
  • Mayer, Hubert
  • Ceylan, Esra
Grafik Top
Shortfacts
Category
Paper in Conference Proceedings or in Workshop Proceedings (Paper)
Event Title
Frontiers in Education 2021
Divisions
Computer Science Didactics and Learning Research Center
Subjects
Informatik Allgemeines
Ausbildung, Beruf, Organisationen
Event Location
Proceedings of the 50th IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference
Event Type
Conference
Event Dates
13-15 Oct. 2021
Date
2021
Export
Grafik Top