Friday, September 4, 2009

Girls Gain More Confidence and Interest in Technology After Participating in Computer Mania

Girls Gain More Confidence and Interest in Technology after Participating in Computer Mania Day, Study Finds

Baltimore, MD - Middle school girls who participated in Computer Mania Day for Girls (CMD) demonstrated improved attitudes about computers, had increased involvement with computers, had increased their consideration of technology-related careers, and had heightened self-confidence about their technical abilities according to the results of a study released today by the Multinational Development of Women in Technology (MDWIT).

The research team also included experts from the Center for Gender Equity based in Washington State and Loyola College in Maryland. The results indicate that boys’ confidence, attitude, and interest were also improved after attending the event.

The study results are based on an electronic survey of 2,720 children who attended Computer Mania Day between 2005 and 2008. The response rate was 11.2 percent. In addition to completing the survey, 26 respondents participated in phone interviews. A complete report on the study, including survey instruments and responses, can be found at .

According to National Science Foundation data, bachelor degree conferral in computer science for women has declined from 37% to 22% between 1985 to 2005. “If children, and particularly girls, are encouraged to consider exciting technical careers early in their education, they may well develop the positive self-efficacy needed for success,” said Claudia Morrell, CEO of MDWIT and a member of the research team.

Computer Mania Day for Girls is a one-day event that seeks to increase children’s awareness of and interest in career opportunities in information technology (IT) and engineering, and encourages them to take rigorous mathematics classes and elective technology classes. Participants, their parents, and teachers are provided with a host of technology-related activities, including both speaker-led and hands-on sessions that explore how to better engage girls and encourage their thinking in terms of technology, engineering, and mathematics.

“Computer Mania Day for Girls not only exposes students to new ideas, technologies and role models, but also addresses the peer pressure associated with technology education (as "not cool") by having an event with hundreds of other kids enjoying the same things,” says Greg Hodges, Corporate Director of Staffing at Northrop Grumman Corporation, a regular sponsor of the event and funder of the study.

The next CMD event will be held October 31, 2009 at Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus.

The Multinational Development of Women in Technology (MDWIT) was founded as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in 2007 to accelerate growth in the global knowledge economy. By combining women's latent potential with innovative ideas enabled through technology, all women, their families and communities prosper. The vision is operationalized through the promotion of girls’ interests in STEM and women's entry into and advancement in the technology workforce. The organization's leadership consists of a Board of Trustees composed of business professionals, education leaders, and high-tech entrepreneurs with more than 15 years of experience in achieving these goals.

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