Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education

Advisor

Gordon Doctorow

Committee Member

David Heflich

Abstract

This applied dissertation was designed to provide insight about the perceptions of middle school students attending a Title I school about technology use and careers. Using a mixed methods approach, the researcher explored the beliefs and circumstances that affect attitudes and behaviors in technology usage by eighth-grade boys and girls. The research questions for this study included: 1) female Title I middle school students' perceptions of interactive technology, 2) male Title I middle school students' perceptions of interactive technology, and 3) gender differences towards interactive technology. Data were collected from six focus group participants and 226 students who completed a survey.

Overall, both male and female participants exhibited similar perceptions about interactive technology. Participants used technology for academic and social reasons, had computers at home, and thought cognitive ability, not gender, contributed to one's ability to use technology. Even though participants of both genders reported using technology frequently, they used it differently. Both male and female participants had technology roles models, immediate family members with jobs with technology responsibilities. Participants were well versed in technology use and were interested in learning more about the field. Male and female participants also reported not receiving technology education even though they accessed assignments online, conducted research with electronic devices, and received instruction via technological means. The results were mixed in regards to pursuing technology careers in the future. Participants also shared contradicting perceptions: they reported interest and using technology (male and female participants), thinking technology was boring (female participants), and neutral about a possible career in technology in the future (female participants). Both males and females expressed the view that males and females were equally capable of making use of technology.

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