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John Simkin

Girls, Maths and ICT

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I thought members might be interested in this research being carried out on girls and ICT.

"Popular culture offers little outside-of-school support for children's mathematical learning. Computer games are a potential exception. These games exert a tremendous pull on some children. While many games purport to be educational and even to promote children's mathematical learning, there is little research to support these claims. Researchers are beginning to get a handle on the conditions under which students learn mathematics in school, yet almost nothing is known about how computer game-playing can support and extend children's knowledge of mathematics. In addition, researchers and software developers have paid little attention to the disparities between boys' and girls' involvement with these games. While computer games could provide the opportunity for increased mathematical learning by both boys and girls, the reality is that girls are not benefiting from the potential of computers to promote math learning. For girls, the computer's screen seems to be a kind of glass wall. They are allowed to glimpse its worlds from a distance, but are not invited inside. We explore these questions through research with elementary and middle school students, and draw on the fields of mathematics education, informal learning, children's play, and gender issues. We call our project Through The Glass Wall to emphasize that one of our goals is to help girls break down the "glass wall" that the computer screen sometimes represents: a wall that keeps them from acquiring important knowledge about technology.

http://www.terc.edu/mathequity/gw/html/papers.html

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