eJMT Abstract

Title Are girls disadvantaged by the use of calculators and computers for mathematics learning?
Author Helen J. FORGASZ
Volume 3
Number 3

In this article, the findings from two studies on gender issues associated with the learning of mathematics with technology are presented. Both studies are set in Australia. The first study involved secondary analyses of publicly available enrolment and achievement data from high stakes, grade 12 mathematics examinations. In the second, different types of data were gathered including: survey data from large samples of grade 7-10 mathematics teachers and their students, and from a large sample of grade 11 students; and interviews, observations, and self-report data from six grade 10 teachers and their students. The focus in each study was on the role of technology (calculators or computers) for mathematics learning, whether gender differences were evident and, if so, if factors contributing to them could be identified. Gender differences favouring males were identified in mathematics teachers’ beliefs about, expectations of, and behaviour towards students as they learn mathematics with computers, and in students’ beliefs about the effects of technology on their mathematics learning. Overall, it seems that technology may be implicated in explaining these gender differences, as well as in the clearly identified differences in enrolments and achievements in two parallel running grade 12 mathematics subjects in which different types of calculators are mandated.