CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Learning about Scientists in a Gender-Equitable, Multimedia Environment

Date of Award

1999

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell

Abstract

The goal of this dissertation was to produce gender-equitable, multimedia based science materials with the objective of attracting female students to careers in science. This goal was accomplished through the development and use of a gender-equitable, multimedia based software application for use in the middle school integrated science classes. Observable objectives in this application included I) text, pictures, and lessons that portrayed female and male role models, 2) the portrayal of females and males in nonstereotyped roles, 3) the portrayal of females in roles that were equal to the roles of males, 4) the portrayal of females as scientists in the areas of the Physical Sciences, 5) the diversity of science related occupations, 6) the relationship of science to everyday life, 7) the number of references to characters of one gender did not exceed the number represented by the other gender, and 8) questions used for review or testing were gender-neutral. Fraser's (J 981) Test of Science-Related Attitudes (TOSRA) was administered as a pre and post-questionnaire to the target audience to determine general attitudes toward multimedia-based learning materials as well as any specific reactions toward gender-bias free materials. It was expected that by using gender-equitable multimedia software, students' attitudes toward science instruction would be impacted in a positive way. The educational intervention treatment, developed with HyperStudio® for Windows®, followed sound principles of courseware design and development. It was posited that female students would realize and appreciate the idea that science-related careers are as open to them as to males. Also, after using the software, male students would benefit from the experience by reaching beyond preconceived notions of stereotyping.

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