Spaces for Change: Gender and Technology Access in Collaborative Software Design

  • Cynthia Carter Ching
  • Yasmin B. Kafai
  • Sue K. Marshall


Equitable computer collaborations in mixed-gender teams have been a pressing issue for many years. While some have argued for creating single-gender teams or girls-only computer activities, our approach was different. The current study examines a three-month software design activity in which mixed teams of girls and boys (10–12 year olds) designed and implemented multimedia astronomy resources for younger students. In this context we assessed gender differences in students' levels of access to technology and how these participation patterns changed throughout the project duration. We found through our qualitative analyses that the configuration of social, physical and cognitive “spaces” in the project environment contributed to a positive change in girls' levels of access. We discuss the implications of these results in regard to issues surrounding the development and maintenance of gender equity in computer use and further research.

gender equity technological fluency learning through design 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia Carter Ching
    • 1
  • Yasmin B. Kafai
    • 1
  • Sue K. Marshall
    • 2
  1. 1.Graduate School of Education & Information StudiesUniversity of CaliforniaLos Angeles
  2. 2.School of Education and Social PolicyNorthwestern UniversityUSA

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