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Abstract:

The introduction of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) into many school curricula around the world raised some hope that gender differences could be minimized when such facility is made available in schools. The introduction of computer studies in Botswana schools as a compulsory subject and the availability of this facility in schools have led to high expectations that the gender gap might close or even be eliminated. This study examined gender issues in students’ attitudes towards using computers in Botswana junior and senior secondary schools. Attitudinal variables considered were usefulness and enjoyment of using computers in class, and anxiety when using computers. Data were collected using structured interviews involving closed and open-ended questions, and were then analyzed using qualitative and quantitative techniques. School and classroom observations were done using structured schedules. The findings of the study showed that gender differences existed in the three variables considered in the study. Girls and boys tended to hold different views about the value of computers in learning. Compared with boys, girls appeared to enjoy the use of technology less and experience more anxiety in using computers. The use of computers in the classroom enhanced the smooth interaction and cooperation found between boys and girls, and between students of both sexes and teachers in classroom setting. It is recommended that the nature of the curricula for computer studies, the content areas to be covered be reviewed and the use of computers for instructional purposes be re-designed to involve activities and exercises that would lead to increased motivation and confidence of girls to be able to enjoy computer lessons without anxiety.

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