My guest post at Compass Learning has been reposted on the Getting Smart blog.
When women believe that they will have to work hard on a task related to technology or that it will be difficult, they tend to be less motivated and perform worse.
I think the take-away message from the findings about girls and women using technology is that parents and teachers need to emphasize to girls that proficiency in technology-related fields is not innate. It’s a function of persistence, effort, and motivation.
I could use frequent reminders of this as well. When I decided to start this blog, I was first going to launch a self-hosted Word Press site, which is considerably more difficult and complicated than a hosted one for a complete beginner, but after a few days of trying to figure it out, using books and websites, I simply gave up. I told myself again and again that I would not be adept at doing something as technologically involved as hosting my own site, despite the fact that I now own books to walk me through every step. I panicked and decided I wanted nothing to do with learning technology.
I know rationally that I will never learn anything new, as Annie Murphy Paul, points out, without determination and hard work. But something about technology, software, and computer screens makes me anxious. Is this because I’m female?
How do we motivate our daughters and female students to be more motivated to learn technology and to pursue math and science careers?