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Published in Print: July 8, 1998, as AAUW Panel To Study How Boys, Girls Differ in Use of Technology

AAUW Panel To Study How Boys, Girls Differ in Use of Technology

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Educators need to understand better why girls and boys relate differently to technology.

That's the premise under which the American Association of University Women has set up a commission to study how girls and boys accept and use computer-based technology.

"The goal of the commission is to take a look at gender inequity in technology, such as why so few girls go on to pursue careers in this field," said Janice Weinman, the executive director of the Washington-based association.

Ms. Weinman said the AAUW became concerned that girls are not benefiting as much as boys from technology while it was putting together an update to its widely discussed 1992 report, "How Schools Shortchange Girls." The group's revised report is due out in October.

"Technology is the new area where there is a gender gap," she said.

Not only are fewer girls going into the field of technology, they also are less likely than boys to use computers creatively, Ms. Weinman said.

The 13-member commission, appointed last month, will meet three times over 18 months, starting in September. It will sponsor research on gender and technology and produce a report that will have recommendations for policymakers.

Teacher Training

Among other topics, the commission will address the role of teacher preparation in influencing how girls and boys accept and use technology, Ms. Weinman said.

The commission includes such prominent researchers in educational technology as Cornelia Brunner, the associate director and media designer for the Educational Development Center's Center for Children and Technology in New York City, and Sherry Turkle, a sociology professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ms. Turkle will co-chair the commission along with Patricia Diaz Dennis, the senior vice president and assistant general counsel for regulation and policy for SBC Communications Inc., a Baby Bell telecommunications company based in San Antonio.

Vol. 17, Issue 42, Page 14

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