Gender differences in computer attitudes: does the school matter?

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106 Citations (Scopus)


In most western countries, the participation of females in ICT professional careers is not only low but is also still falling [Anderson, N., Lankhear, C., Timms, C., & Courtney, L. (in press). Because it’s boring, irrelevant and I don’t like computers’: Why high school girls avoid professionally-oriented ICT subjects. Computers & Education.]. Policy makers as well as researchers often assume that the interest of girls in computing and ICT-professions could be increased at school. For example, female teachers who are confident ICT-users, are expected to act as positive role models for girls. However, because most of the research on gender and computing has been focussing on the influence of none-school related factors, there is little empirical evidence that schools or teachers are able to influence girls’ attitude toward ICT. Using the data of a Dutch large-scale survey on ICT use in primary education (almost 4000 grade 5 students), this study explores the influence of both none-school related factors and school related factors on students’ computer attitude. Although the between-school variance of girls’ computer attitude is higher than that of boys’ computer attitude, multilevel analyses show that most of the variance in computer attitude is explained by none-school related student factors. Two school related factors turned out to have a small positive effect on the computer attitude of girls: a teacher-centred pedagogical approach and the computer experience of female teachers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)969-985
JournalComputers in human behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Gender differences
  • Computer attitudes
  • Primary Education


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