Gender differences in kindergarteners’ robotics and programming achievement
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- Sullivan, A. & Bers, M.U. Int J Technol Des Educ (2013) 23: 691. doi:10.1007/s10798-012-9210-z
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Early childhood is a critical period for introducing girls to traditionally masculine fields of science and technology before more extreme gender stereotypes surface in later years. This study looks at the TangibleK Robotics Program in order to determine whether kindergarten boys and girls were equally successful in a series of building and programming tasks. The TangibleK Program consisted of a six lesson robotics and programming curriculum that was implemented in three different kindergarten classrooms (N = 53 students). Although previous research has found that males outperform females in robotics and programming related fields, it was hypothesized that the young age of participants and their limited cultural indoctrination regarding gender stereotypes would allow boys and girls to have equal success in this program. Although boys had a higher mean score than girls on more than half of the tasks, very few of these differences were statistically significant. Boys scored significantly higher than girls only in two areas: properly attaching robotic materials, and programming using Ifs. Overall, both boys and girls were able to successfully complete the program.