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<ul><li> 1. Alli Travis<br>AmSt 522 Research Proposal<br></li> <li> 2. Idaho Big Labor Pool Small Talent Pool<br>The state of Idaho is currently experiencing record unemployment. Yet, despite a large labor pool of applicants to pick from, technology related businesses are having trouble finding qualified individuals to fill their voided positions. The amount of experienced, specialized high-tech workers is dismal, which could hurt Idaho's ability to compete nationally and globally in a booming field. "In 2009, the computer programming field generating an estimated 395 job openings in Idaho, yet the state produced only 24 graduates in the field." Likewise, the information technology field opened up roughly 929 positions and had only 162 graduates to fill those spots (Sewell 2).<br>Even more astounding than the low overall number of Idahoan's in the technology field is the extremely small proportion of women involved. Women leaders in the field of technology are few and far between in the state of Idaho. In fact, the Idaho Technology Council and the Idaho Innovation Council have a combined six women out of a group of fifty-four council and board members.<br></li> <li> 3. So What?<br>This is where my curious mind wants to know more<br>Why is there such a lack of women studying/interested in technology in Idaho?<br>What social, cultural, and economic factors play in to this lack of female representation?<br></li> <li> 4. Research Questions<br>What social, cultural and economic factors inhibit or create possibilities for computer access by young women in southern Idahoand how does this affect the development of their future careers in technology related fields?<br>What is the male to female ratio of Idaho students pursuing careers in IT and computer science and how can any large gap between genders be explained?<br></li> <li> 5. Sub-Questions<br>I came up with a number of sub-questions stemming from my two main research questions:<br>What opportunities do women have for access to computers?<br>What are the family norms surrounding children/teen computer use, and how does this differ between genders?<br>How does the Idaho school system delegate computer access and the types of programs being used by students?<br>What emphasis are being placed on math and science in the school system? Are males being led towards these disciplines more than females?<br>Is use of the computer considered to be masculine or feminine? <br>Does this inhibit one gender in any way? <br></li> <li> 6. Sub-Questions Cont.<br>How is womens access to the computer VALUED.what types of access (or lack of access) have they had to technology in the past?<br>What are the social/cultural structures surrounding females and their use of the computer?<br>What social constraints might exist that cause women to stay away from computers related careers?<br>What are women interested in studying? Is computer science/IT appealing for women? Why or why not?<br></li> <li> 7. Partnerships<br>Will pursue a relationship with other Idaho organizations that might be interested in helping enhance and conduct the study:<br>Girls in Tech, Boise sector<br> Girls in Tech is focused on the engagement, education, and empowerment of like-minded, professional, intelligent and influential women in technology working on the collaboration, promotion, growth, and success of women in the technology sector.<br>Idaho Technology Council<br>Connects, informs and promotes tech companies in Idaho and seeks to foster the growth of technology companies in the state<br></li> <li> 8. Methodologies<br>Survey<br>To gain a broad understanding of general questions regarding access (at home and in the education system), social norms and personal preferences<br>Face to face interviews (75)<br>To attain further feedback on why women feel the way they do about technology and what might have lead them to that point<br>Focus groups of 10-15<br>To collectively brainstorm<br></li> <li> 9. Survey<br>Two groups<br>High school seniors<br>Idaho State Department of Education for permission and location assignments<br>College upperclassmen<br>Available colleges: College of S. Idaho, Boise State, Idaho State, Northwest Nazarene University, College of Idaho<br>Approximately 200 surveys from each group<br><br></li> <li> 10. Survey College Map<br></li> <li> 11. Survey <br>Question Types<br>General background questions (gender, income, education)<br>Exposure to technology throughout youth<br>Opportunities for use and skill development<br>In school and in the home<br>Promotion of technology related careers in ones life<br>Comfort level with media technology skills<br>Identify reasons for lack of computer exposure, if any<br>Social norms surrounding use and consumption<br>Thoughts towards technology and desire to study it<br></li> <li> 12. Face to Face Interviews<br>Approximately 50 interviews<br>College upperclassmen ages 22-25<br>Background questions:<br>Find out how they ended up choosing their career path, why they chose it, what factors in their life contributed to this decision<br>More computer specific questions regarding:<br>Exposure, access and usage<br>Societal norms<br>Personal biases<br>Career growth opportunities<br>Empowerment<br></li> <li> 13. Focus Groups<br>Groups of 10-15 individuals <br>High school seniors, college upperclassmen<br>Personal feelings and cultural norms surrounding computer usage<br>Social structures<br>Exposure throughout different life phases<br>Home, school, work<br>Encouragement/discouragement of computer access<br>Technology use<br>Personal interests in computers (why or why not)<br>Difference of interests between genders and why<br></li> <li> 14. Literature Review<br>AAUW Educational Foundation, First. Tech-Savvy:Educating Girls in the New Computer Age . Washington, D.C.: American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, 2000.<br>This book recognizes that computers are now part of the everyday classroom and seeks to understand how they can be used to enhance teaching and learning in ways that promote female involvement. The main themes of the book address the reservations girls have about the computer culture, the concerns teachers having using technology in the classroom, and causes for concern in regards to females current participation in the computer realm through the lenses of education, economics and culture. This book will serve as a great starting point for my research to gain some background on classroom culture surrounding women and computers and to understand where (on a broad scale) women lie in the computer participation spectrum.<br>Battey, Daniel, et al. Professional Development for Teachers on Gender Equity in the Sciences: Initiating the Conversation. Teachers College Record 109.1 (2007): 221-243. America: History &amp; Life. EBSCO. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. <br>This article examines a study conducted during 1993-2001 which showed that professional development projects for schoolteachers fell short of effectively addressing gender inequity in the classroom, particularly in relation to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. What seemed to be significantly lacking from teachers in their ability to present technical content to girls effectively. Understanding how the school system prevents females from obtaining the same type of exposure to technology as men receive will be helpful in examining how this affects women throughout their education and careers.<br></li> <li> 15. Literature Review Cont.<br>Blum, Lenore, and Carole Frieze. The Evolving Culture of Computing. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 26.1 (2005): 110-115. America: History &amp; Life. EBSCO. Web. 15 Nov. 2010.<br>The authors of this article state that most students of gender and computer science have been conducted in gender-imbalanced environments. To combat this, researchers make suggestions to help close these significant gender differences. One such method of heightening the female interest in computers and technology described in the article saw the number of women entering computer science majors at Carnegie Mellon increase nearly fivefold in only four years. Understanding what types of programs draw females to become more interested in computers will help us to understand what qualities of current educational and social systems are lacking that keep women from further exposure to computers.<br>Dunbar-Hester, Christina. Beyond Dudecore? Challenging Gendered and Raced Technologies Through Media Activism. Journal of Broadcasting &amp; Electronic Media 54:1 (2010): 121-135.<br>This article follows a group of media activists whose work foregrounds communication technologies and technical practice. These activists attempt to transform the media system by broadening access to technology and skills, with the intent for technological engagement to be compatible with a range of social identities. Specifically, they promote hands-on work with technology and technological competence, which, as they claim, has evidently been shaped by social structures that contribute to differences in familiarity and comfort with electronics across genders. This study does not attempt to account for those differences, but instead focuses on the activists attempts to confront and transform these differences.<br></li> <li> 16. Literature Review Cont.<br>Farmer, Lesley. Teen Girls and Technology: Whats the Problem, What's the Solution?. Chicago, IL: American Library Assocation, 2008<br>In this book, Lesley Farmer examines the disconnect that many girls have with technology and then tackles the almighty question of: how do we kick-start girls involvement with technology? By providing a framework that teachers and parents can use to empower girls to succeed in todays technology-rich world, Farmer hopes to supply real-world techniques that actually work. She highlights several after-school and fun learning activities that have been shown to increase young womens confidence and promote their interests in technology. This information should be quite relevant in regards to analyzing the programs that might be found within current school systems and looking at the ways they work to promote female computer usage.<br><br>Fenwick, Tara. "What happens to the girls? gender, work and learning in Canada's 'new economy' 1." Gender &amp; Education 16.2 (2004): 169-185. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 17 Nov. 2010.<br>This article studies the gender inequalities that exist in both access to and experience of learning opportunities in Canadas New Economy that promotes equal knowledge and work related learning opportunities. More relevant to this study is the discussion on current provision for girls vocational education and the gendered issues they face entering the labor market, including the ways in which this can be combated. In particular, the article talks about gender-sensitive career education for girls. Understanding how gendered issues change with changing social and political structures will be useful in assessing what issues are relevant for female access to technology and education today. <br></li> <li> 17. Literature Review Cont.<br>"Girls email their way into male internet culture." Times higher education supplement. (1999): 6.. <br>This short article describes the results of research done at Sheffield and Loughborough universities regarding internet use in rural and urban schools. The study claims that schools emphasizg the communicative aspects of information technology are likely to attract more girls than those who do not. Girls are much more likely to be attracted to email than boys and can become interested in computer programming from there. With this increased interest in computers, females are beginning to challenge the masculine stereotypes surrounding IT. <br>Imhanlahimi, E. O., and F. E. Eloebhose. "Problems and Prospects of Women Access to Science and Technology Education in Nigeria." College Student Journal 40.3 (2006): 583-587. Humanities International Index. EBSCO. Web. 17 Nov. 2010. <br>This article highlights the importance of science and technology in the development of nations by analyzing real life circumstances in Nigeria. In this study, researchers found that Nigeria cannot achieve scientific and technological growth without the full participation of women. Although historically women have been held back in accessing technology, new trends are calling for the importance of female participation in nation building to be recognized. Now, the nation is calling on everyone to contribute to the promotion of female access to science and technology education in Nigeria. Using this study, it will be interesting to examine the relationship between female empowerment and their desire to work with and pursue careers in technology. <br></li> <li> 18. Literature Review Cont.<br>Jensen, Jennifer, Suzanne de Castell, and Mary Bryson. Girl Talk: gender, equity and identity discourses in a school-based computer culture. Womens Studies International Forum 26:6 (2003): 561-573.<br>This article discusses a feminist intervention project in Canada focused on giving females more equitable access to and use of computers. This project, conducted at Brookwood Elementary School, allowed for the female students to develop and experience new identities as technology experts within their school. This resulted in not only a significant increase in the participants knowledge of technology, but also resulted in a shift in the way they talked about and voiced their own gender identities with their teachers and peers. By the end of the experience, participants had become more vocal about what they saw as gender-biased practices conducted in the classroom and throughout the school. Their new willingness to stand up against these inequitable practices ultimately created a more supportive climate for the advancement of gender equity beyond the confines of its computer labs. By no means do the authors claim to have found a cure or prescription for change regarding gender-biased school practices, however, they identify the need for an understanding of the resiliency of this standard and suggest one way of beginning to break down the traditional walls that have been upheld for generations.<br></li> <li> 19. Literature Review Cont.<br>Kelan, Elisabeth. Performing Gender at Work. New York, NY: Palgra...</li></ul>