Can we use technology to differentiate instruction for boys and girls?

Have you ever considered whether boys learn differently from girls?  Well, there is plenty of research to support that in fact…they do.  So there is something to the whole “Venus” and “Mars” ideology after all.  Many researchers also believe that a differentiation needs to be made between boys and girls specifically in the realm of STEM areas.

The below is a listing of some of this “research”.  Let’s take a moment to explore.

Strategies for Girls from Education.com

http://www.education.com/magazine/article/best-teaching-strategies-girls/

#1 Collaborative groups encourage girls to be leaders during instructional time.

What technology tools can be integrated into the curriculum to help girls collaborate more?

  • Google Apps
  • iPads/iPod touch
  • Laptops
  • Stixy
  • Project2Manage
  • bubbl.us
  • Dabbleboard
  • Protonotes
  • Twiddla
  • Wet Paint
  • Skype
  • Thinkature
  • Spicebird
  • Etherpad
  • and much more!

#2 Provide a more face-to-face nurturing environment rather than a shoulder-to-shoulder environment found in a coed or boys’ room.

How can technology fit into this suggestion?

  • The Harkness table is a great remedy for this situation.  In a round table setting female students can use laptops, iPads, iPods, interactive slates, and Flip video cameras to have more face-to-face interaction.  Using these tools students can interview one another (enhancing 21st Century skills), work on a video project together, and use free concept mapping tools like Cmap to brainstorm ideas.

#3 Consider comfortable seating – bean bag chairs or sofas.

Technology fits perfectly into this snug suggestion, let me tell you how.

  • Mobile devices like the iPad and iPod touch can be used anywhere.  Students can comfortable in the favorite chair, on a lazy couch or bean bag and utilize their mobile device to surf the internet, listen to a podcast, use the Doodle Buddy app with a partner on the other side of the room to create a cell together at the same time via a wifi connection, take an assessment and any of the hundreds of other things that can be done on a mobile device.

#4 Challenge girls as much as the boys.

Preach.  Girls many times aren’t as challenged as boys because of the stigma that boys are smarter in specific content areas…pppppffff.  GIRL POWER!

  • Let’s get challenged ladies.  Challenged based learning is a great way to introduce more rigorous and less appealing content to girls.
  • Make the challenging content engaging and attractive to young ladies.  Engineering, math, science and technology sound better when phrased as
    • Web Diva Programming aka Java Scripting
    • Fashion Designing aka Web design
    • Geek Chic Calc aka Calculus
    • GEMS aka Girls Engaged in Math and Science

An interesting side note: Tech crafting’s girlcentric reframing of technology, and its message that women can have their hairdo and their digital can-do, was embraced by the numerous female engineers and girl geeks who got out the vote in 2009 when Mattel posted an online poll, urging users to choose Barbie’s next career. As a result of their efforts, the 125th doll in the Barbie “I Can Be…” collection is a computer engineer. The Society of Women Engineers and the National Academy of Engineering even contributed to the development of Barbie’s clothes and accessories. According to Mattel, “this digital diva engineers the perfect geek-chic look, with hot pink accessories and sleek gadgets to match.”

The list goes on.  Let’s ponder these today and look at more tomorrow.  Stay tuned…and no I haven’t forgotten the boys.  Remember: Ladies First!

Girly yours,

The Cre8tiv Mind

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