Computers & Education 55 (2010) 16–23 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Computers & Education journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/compedu Boys’ and girls’ ICT beliefs: Do teachers matter? Ioanna Vekiri * University of Western Macedonia, Department of Primary Education, P.O. Box 21 GR-53100 Florina, Greece a r t i c l e i n f o Article history: Received 5 June 2009 Received in revised form 19 November 2009 Accepted 25 November 2009 Keywords: Gender studies Pedagogical issues Secondary education Teaching/learning strategies a b s t r a c t This exploratory study took place in the context of middle school information science in Greece, to examine possible relations between boys’ and girls’: value and efﬁcacy beliefs about computers and information science; perceived parental support; perceived teacher expectations; and perceptions of the nature of information science instruction. The participants of the study were 301 (135 male and 166 female) students who responded to a self-report questionnaire. Regression analysis showed that perceived teacher expectations were positively associated with students’ ability beliefs, perceptions of learning activities as creative and personally meaningful was a signiﬁcant predictor of students’ interest in computing, and perceived parental support was related to both value and efﬁcacy beliefs. Unlike previous research, the ﬁndings of this study did not support the conclusion that boys have more positive ICT self-efﬁcacy and value beliefs than girls. They indicated however, that boys’ and girls’ beliefs are differentially affected by parents, teachers, and school IS instruction. Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction The introduction of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the educational system of many countries has been accompanied by a proliferation of research on ICT attitudes and beliefs (i.e. Moos & Azevedo, 2009; Volman & van Eck, 2001), documenting their signiﬁcance for learning about and with ICTs. Students who have conﬁdence in their computer abilities can successfully perform learning tasks that involve ICT use (Moos & Azevedo, 2009), and those who enjoy and value using computers pursue activities, courses, and academic programs that will help them improve their skills (Dickhäuser & Stiensmeier-Pelster, 2003; Selwyn, 1998) and prepare for a professional career in the ICT ﬁeld (Zarrett, Malanchuk, Davis-Kean, & Eccles, 2006). For a large number of young people exposure to computers begins at home, at an early age. Research has shown that out of school computer experiences are strongly related to student attitudes and relationship with technology (Moos & Azevedo, 2009; Selwyn, 1998; Vekiri & Chronaki, 2008), and that gendered socialization processes may differentially affect the development of ICT beliefs in boys and girls (Barker & Aspray, 2006; Margolis & Fisher, 2002; Volman & van Eck, 2001). Less is known, however, about the role of teachers and formal school instruction. In this exploratory study, which took place in Greece in the context of introductory information science (IS) at the lower secondary school level (Gymnasium), student questionnaire data were collected to examine possible relations between boys’ and girls’: value and efﬁcacy beliefs about computers and information science; perceived parental support; perceived teacher achievement expectations; and perceptions of the nature of information science instruction. 2. Theoretical framework Research has highlighted the importance of ability and value beliefs for student motivation and learning. Students’ perceptions of their ability to successfully perform tasks in a particular academic domain, deﬁned as self-efﬁcacy beliefs within the framework of Bandura’s social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1993), are signiﬁcant predictors of student activity choices, effort, persistence and use of self-regulation strategies (Zimmerman, 2000). Self-efﬁcacious students are not afraid to undertake challenging tasks, invest effort and do not give up easily when they encounter difﬁculties, and are motivated to use cognitive and metacognitive strategies when they learn (Zimmerman, 2000). According to value-expectancy theory (Wigﬁeld & Eccles, 2000), the inﬂuence of ability beliefs on motivation and performance is moderated by students’ value beliefs, as the latter affect students’ task choice and engagement. Value beliefs are students’ views about the importance (attainment value), the usefulness (utility value), the enjoyment or interest (intrinsic value), and the cost involved in performing * Tel.: +30 2310 457619; fax: +30 2310 449787. E-mail addresses: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] 0360-1315/$ - see front matter Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2009.11.013 I. Vekiri / Computers & Education 55 (2010) 16–23 17 tasks of a particular domain (Wigﬁeld & Eccles, 2000). Students are more likely to engage in academic tasks and to pursue activities that they consider interesting, useful and important to them (Wigﬁeld & Eccles, 2000). Both value and self-efﬁcacy beliefs have a signiﬁcant effect on the quality of student learning (Pintrich & DeGroot, 1990) and are important predictors of students’ future academic choices and career paths (Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara, & Pastorelli, 2001; Eccles, 1994; Zarrett et al., 2006). There is considerable research showing that boys and girls differ in their ability and value beliefs for academic domains that are traditionally gender-typed as ‘‘male” or ‘‘female”, in patterns that are consistent with gender norms and stereotypes (Meece, Glienke, & Burg, 2006). In particular, research on ICT learning shows that girls tend to have less positive beliefs about the value of ICT and their own ICT skills compared to boys (Volman & van Eck, 2001; Whitley, 1997). Boys’ and girls’ motivational beliefs are shaped by their experiences and may follow different developmental paths as a result of gendered socialization processes (Eccles, 1994; Meece et al., 2006). According to value-expectancy theory (Eccles, 1994), parents and teachers can have a positive inﬂuence on young people’ ICT ability and value beliefs by providing learning opportunities and by encouraging engagement in ICT activities, by expressing positive expectations and positive values about the importance, usefulness and appropriateness of computing, and by modeling ICT use. Research on student ICT use outside school has shown that, compared to girls, boys have more opportunities to experience success with ICTs, and, therefore, they are more likely to develop positive ability beliefs: boys are more likely than girls to have access to a personal computer at home, to use computers in the context of peer activities, and to attend computer clubs (Barker & Aspray, 2006; Volman & van Eck, 2001). In addition, boys are more likely than girls to have access to same-gender parental role models (Margolis & Fisher, 2002) and to receive encouragement from their parents to improve their knowledge about ICT (Vekiri & Chronaki, 2008), which, in turn, may result in boys’ developing more positive beliefs about the appropriateness and value of computing, compared to girls. These ﬁndings about the role of parental support are consistent with research regarding other male-typed domains, such as math, showing that parents who espouse gender stereotypes have lower expectations for their daughters’ math abilities, and that parental views and expectations have long-term effects on children’s motivational beliefs and academic choices (Bleeker & Jacobs, 2004; Eccles, Adler, & Kaczala, 1982). Although research so far has established a relationship between boys’ and girls’ ICT ability and value beliefs and their home ICT experiences, little is known about students’ classroom experiences and the role of their teachers. The present study aims at (a) exploring two teacher factors, teacher expectations and pedagogy, which, based on previous research, are expected to relate to student ICT beliefs, and (b) examining the relative importance of these teacher factors compared to parental support. As sources of authority and expertise, teachers are likely to exert a powerful inﬂuence on boys’ and girls’ ability beliefs about technology through the achievement expectations they communicate. Classroom research has shown that teacher–student interaction is gendered (Aukrust, 2008; Jones & Dindia, 2004) and that teachers’ tend to have differential achievement expectations for boys and girls in maletyped academic domains (Fennema, Peterson, Carpenter, & Lubinski, 1990; Li, 1999). However, little is known about teacher expectations regarding boys’ and girls’ ICT use and about the inﬂuence of teacher expectations on student ability beliefs. Observational studies in the context of school ICT use (Singh, 1993) and information science instruction at the college level (Clegg, Trayhurn, & Johnson, 2000) have shown that teachers’ behavior often reﬂects stereotyped beliefs and communicates gendered expectations, which become visible to the students. Shashaani (1993) found that high-school students perceived their teachers to have stereotyped views about the appropriateness of computer science for males and females. Research shows that teacher expectations affect student achievement and that girls in gendered domains such as mathematics are more susceptible to teacher underestimates of their ability (MCKown & Weinstein, 2002). Positive teacher expectations and support, on the other hand, may have a positive effect on female students’ motivation. In a 3-year study of girls’ participation in single and mixed-gender high school information science classes, Crombie, Abarbanel, and Trinneer (2002) found that girls in the all-female classes perceived higher levels of teacher support and expressed more positive efﬁcacy beliefs than girls in the mixedgender classes. Also, teachers may inﬂuence student beliefs about the value of ICTs through their pedagogical practices. Research has shown that teachers can enhance student motivation for learning using challenging and authentic tasks that provide opportunities for exploration and collaboration, are connected to the real-world, and appeal to student interests (Blumenfeld et al., 1991; Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000; Schunk, Pintrich, & Meece, 2007). However, studies in various countries (Clarke & Teague, 1996 in Australia; Goode, Estrella, & Margolis, 2006 in the US; Kordaki, 2001 in Greece) indicate that information science instruction tends to be teacher-centered and to focus on the development of decontextualized technical skills, providing students with few opportunities for collaboration and engagement in challenging, creative, and personally meaningful tasks. This approach may have differential effects on boys and girls’ motivation because boys and girls are attracted to different aspects of ICTs and differ in their instructional preferences. Boys tend to be interested in the technical aspects of computing more than girls (Brunner, Bennett, & Honey, 1998) and prefer discovering things and solving computer problems on their own (Ching, Kafai, & Marshall, 2000). Girls, on the other hand, are interested in the creative aspects and real-life applications of technology (Brunner et al., 1998; Lynn, Raphael, Olefsky, & Bachen, 2003), and prefer instructional formats that enable them to collaborate and to share what they learn (Ching et al., 2000; Clegg et al., 2000; Volman, van Eck, Heemskerk, & Kuiper, 2005). It appears that although ‘‘traditional” instruction might not be detrimental for boys’ interest in computing, it could be a turnoff to girls. Moreover, this approach to information science instruction has been criticized for communicating stereotypical images of computing as ‘‘purely technical, menial, and disengaged from the social world” (Clarke & Teague, 1996; Crombie et al., 2002; Margolis & Fisher, 2002). This image of computing is incompatible with the personal values and long-term plans of girls, who rate social values high and prefer to study academic subjects that have social applications and, in the long-term, would enable them to ‘‘do something worthwhile for society” (Eccles, 1994). Therefore, by failing to show the collaborative nature of computing, its relevance to many disciplines, and its contribution to the solution of everyday problems, traditional instruction may have negative effects on girls’ beliefs about the personal importance and usefulness of computing. It has been argued (Crombie et al., 2002; Goode et al., 2006; Lynn et al., 2003) that girls would develop more interest in ICTs if school learning valued their academic interests and were aligned with their instructional preferences. Based on the above, a gender-inclusive pedagogical approach to computer learning would be student-centered. Information science teachers could motivate both boys and girls through inquiry-based and exploratory tasks that are relevant to everyday life, encourage collaboration and creativity, and take into account student interests. It is also possible that, by demonstrating the social applications of technology through such activities, teachers could help girls realize that studying computing is not inconsistent with their personal values and long-term academic plans. Research so far indicates that teachers might inﬂuence girls’ relationship with technology, both with their teaching practices and with the expectations they communicate. However, few studies investigated these hypotheses (i.e. Shashaani, 1993) and much of relevant 18 I. Vekiri / Computers & Education 55 (2010) 16–23 research involves small scale observational or case studies (i.e. Singh, 1993). In this study I collected student survey data to examine the relationship between boys’ and girls’ ICT motivational beliefs, perceptions of their teachers’ expectations and of the activities that were used in the context of middle-school introductory information science. I hypothesized that students’ perceptions of learning tasks as creative and relevant to the real-world would positively correlate with ICT value beliefs and that perceived teacher expectations would be associated with self-efﬁcacy beliefs about ICT. The effects of perceived teacher expectations and student views of information science instruction were examined in relation to another factor, parental support, which in previous research (Dickhäuser & Stiensmeier-Pelster, 2003; Vekiri & Chronaki, 2008) was found to be a signiﬁcant predictor of boys’ and girls’ ICT efﬁcacy and value beliefs. 3. Methods 3.1. Context of the study The Greek educational system is highly centralized. A national curriculum exists for all school subjects at the elementary and secondary levels. A detailed syllabus and a textbook are prepared by the Pedagogic Institute for each subject at each grade level, and are ratiﬁed by the Ministry of Education (Kontogiannopoulou-Polydorides, Georgakakos, & Zavoudakis, 1996). Information science (IS) is taught as a separate subject in lower secondary education, starting in grade 7 which is the ﬁrst year of Gymnasium. According to the information science curriculum, at the elementary level students should develop computer skills by using ICTs across academic subjects. However, not all elementary schools have been equipped with computer rooms and only a very small number of teachers in these schools have begun to integrate ICTs into their teaching (Vosniadou & Kollias, 2001). Therefore, a large number of Greek students use computers at school for the ﬁrst time in grade 7. The information science curriculum includes learning about computer hardware and software, basic applications (i.e. word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail), computer and internet safe use for grades 7 and 8, and introduction to programming (with Logo) for grade 9. The syllabus and the current textbook encourage hands-on activities in laboratory settings and emphasize the social aspects of technology. Studies utilizing surveys and interviews (Kordaki, 2001; Vosniadou & Kollias, 2001) show that most information science teachers acknowledge the positive effects of laboratory instruction on student motivation as well as its potential to transform the nature of teaching and learning. However, they hesitate to enact student-centered teaching approaches such as group work and long-term, interdisciplinary projects, because they do not have adequate pedagogical training. Hence, much of information science instruction is based on the ‘‘knowledge transmission model”, where the teacher presents theoretical concepts and procedures on the blackboard, and students perform small computer assignments to develop and apply new skills. 3.2. Participants Grade 8 and 9 students (n = 301, 135 boys and 166 girls) taught by seven teachers (four females and three males) at four schools with different student demographics responded to a self-report questionnaire at the end of the 2007–2008 school year. Students came from diverse family backgrounds; 37.4% from upper–middle, 41.2% from middle and 21.4% from low SES families, based on father’s occupation and education. Parental SES was coded as follows: upper–middle SES = university graduates; middle SES = white-color employees or self-employed professionals with secondary and postsecondary degrees; and low SES = manual workers with elementary and/or secondary education. Table 1 provides school, teacher and student information. 3.3. Materials and procedures The questionnaire included 26 Likert-type questions, ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree), that addressed: students’ self-efﬁcacy (four questions); value beliefs (six questions about attainment, utility, and intrinsic value); perceived parental support (six questions); perceived teacher expectations (four questions); and views about IS learning activities (six questions). Questions were presented in mixed order. On the last page of the survey I included questions that requested demographic information. Items for the ﬁrst three scales are speciﬁc to computers and information science and were developed based on other instruments assessing self-efﬁcacy, task-value beliefs, and parental expectations and values (i.e. Dickhäuser & Stiensmeier-Pelster, 2003; Eccles & Wigﬁeld, 1995; Pintrich & DeGroot, 1990). Table 2 presents sample items of each scale and Cronbach’s alphas. The items of the last two scales (perceived teacher expectations and views about IS learning activities) were constructed for the purposes of the present study. The ﬁrst scale concerns students’ perceptions of their information science teachers’ encouragement and performance expectations. The items of the second scale were developed to tap dimensions of student-centered instruction, such as the extend to which students thought that learning activities were creative, relevant to personal interests and everyday life, and provided opportunities for collaboration (Eggen & Kauchak, 1999). Principal Axis Factor analysis (presented in Section 4) guided the construction of these two scales. Table 1 School, teacher, and student information. School Student SES Teacher name Teacher gender Student grade level Number of students One Predominantly low SES A B Female Female 8th grade 8th grade 35 36 Two Predominantly upper–middle SES C D Male Male 8th grade 8th grade 57 52 Three Predominantly low and middle SES E F Female Male 8th grade 8th grade 18 36 Four Low, middle, and upper–middle SES G Female 9th grade 71 19 I. Vekiri / Computers & Education 55 (2010) 16–23 Table 2 Example items of the self-efﬁcacy, value beliefs, and perceived parental support scales. Scale Sample items Alpha Self-efﬁcacy (four items) Compared to other students in my class I think I am good at computers I can do even the hardest assignments in my information science class if I try enough 0.76 Value beliefs (six items) It is important to me to do well in my information science class My knowledge about computers is useful for my daily life 0.72 Perceived parental support (six items) My parents think that it is important for my future to be knowledgeable about computers My parents think I am good at computers 0.71 Table 3 Factor loadings for items regarding students’ perceptions of teacher expectations and IS instruction. Perceived teacher expectations My IS teacher thinks that I can respond to the demands of this class My IS teacher thinks that I have the abilies to study information science My IS teacher is happy with my progress in computers My IS teacher encourages me to try and improve One of the things that I like in the IS class is that I can create my own things The assignments in the IS class are relevant to my daily life In the IS class I can use my creativity and imagination One of the things that I like in the IS class is that I can collaborate and discuss about what I do with my fellow students The assignments in the IS class are related to my interests The activities in the information science class are most of the time boring and menial (reversed) .75 .69 .51 .50 Cronbach’s alpha 0.70 Perceptions of IS instruction .60 .58 .52 .49 .35 .63 Table 4 Factor loadings for items regarding students’ perceptions of parental support. Perceived parental expectations My My My My My My parents parents parents parents parents parents think that it is important for my future to be knowledgeable about computers thing that it is good for me to have comptuter skills encourage me to learn things about computers think that I am good at computers think that I am smart enough to improve my knowledge about computers think that I have the abilities for computer-related studies Cronbach’s alpha Perceived parental values 0.70 0.58 0.57 0.85 0.51 0.36 0.65 0.59 Students completed the questionnaire anonymously in the computer room during their regular information science class. Sessions lasted approximately 30 min. In the beginning I explained to the students the purpose of the survey and how they should respond to the questions. I stressed that there were no right or wrong answers and that all recorded information would remain conﬁdential. 4. Results Principal Axis Factor analysis with oblimin rotation was used for the items that were developed to assess student perceptions of teacher expectations and IS instruction. The analysis yielded two factors, which accounted for 33.42% of the variance. Items, factor loadings above .30 and Cronbach’s alphas are presented in Table 3. One question did not load above .30 and was not used in further analysis. Principal Axis Factor analysis with oblimin rotation was also conducted for the six items assessing parental support. The analysis indicated two underlying dimensions that accounted for 39.63 of the variance: perceived parental values (three items, alpha = .65) and perceived parental expectations (three items, alpha = .59) with factor loadings above .30 (see Table 4). However, all six items were combined into one scale (parental support, alpha = .71) that was internally more consistent. A score for each of the ﬁve scales (self-efﬁcacy, value beliefs, perceived parental support, perceived teacher expectations, and perceived task creativity level) was calculated for each student by averaging the items that composed each scale. Scores could range from 1 to 7. Data analysis showed that there was signiﬁcant variation in students’ beliefs and perceptions by teacher group (see Table 5). Pairwise comparisons (with Bonferonni adjustment) showed that teacher C and, to a lesser extend, teacher B students expressed more positive value beliefs and perceived higher teacher expectations than students taught by most of the other teachers. Also, teacher C and B students had more positive perceptions of information science instruction compared to teacher G students and the same was true for teacher C students compared to teacher D students. There were no signiﬁcant differences in perceived parental support by teacher group with the exception of teacher C students who expressed more positive perceptions than teacher A students (p < .05). Overall, there were no signiﬁcant differences in boys’ and girls’ self-efﬁcacy and value beliefs, as well as in their perceptions of parental support, IS instruction, and teacher expectations (see Table 6). Some gender differences emerged, however, when separate analysis was conducted for each teacher group (see table 7). Speciﬁcally, girls taught by teacher A (a female teacher) expressed signiﬁcantly more positive value beliefs (M = 5.96, SD = .77) than boys (M = 5.26, SD = 1.15), p < .05, while in the classes taught by teachers D and F (both of 20 I. Vekiri / Computers & Education 55 (2010) 16–23 Table 5 Differences in student s’ self-efﬁcacy and value beliefs, and in perceptions of parental support, teacher expectations, and IS Instruction by teacher group. Student beliefs and perceptions Self-efﬁcacy Value beliefs Perceived parental support Perceived teacher expectations Perceptions of IS instruction a b c d M (SD) F and p values A B C D E F G 4.79 (1.00)d 5.61 (1.02)c1 5.07 (.97)d 4.60 (1.13)d1 4.75 (1.36) 5.02 (1.27) 6.07 (.87) 5.59 (1.00) 5.45 (1.07)d2 4.99 (1.33)b 5.66 (1.00)c,d 6.31 (.54)a,c1,d1,d2,c2 5.80 (.76)d 5.43 (1.00)d1,d3,d4 5.29 (.85)a1,a2 5.23 (1.20) 5.77 (.97)d1 5.35 (1.07) 4.67 (1.27)d3 4.28 (1.06)a2 5.18 (1.04) 5.50 (1.14)d2 5.52 (1.01) 4.51 (1.43) 4.64 (1.02) 4.96 (1.22) 5.61 (1.00)c2 5.31 (1.13) 4.51 (1.41)d2,d4 4.64 (.90) 4.91 (1.24)c 5.62 (.88)a 5.51 (.95) 5.08 (1.21) 4.08 (1.21)a1,b F = 3.039, p < .01 F = 4.684, p < .001 F = 2.365, p < .05 F = 4.728, p < .001 F = 7.111, p < .001 p < .001. p < .005. p < .01. p < .05. Table 6 Mean values of boys’ and girls’ self-efﬁcacy and value beliefs, and of perceptions of parental support, teacher expectations, and IS instruction. Student beliefs and perceptions Self-efﬁcacy beliefs Value beliefs Perceived parental support Perceived teacher expectations Perceptions of IS instruction M (SD) Boys (n = 135) Girls (n = 166) 5.23 5.81 5.43 4.95 4.55 5.02 5.81 5.49 4.94 4.94 (1.29) (.97) (.97) (1.30) (1.20) (1.08) (.91) (.90) (1.21) (1.21) t test p value 1.525 .017 .474 .065 .818 .128 .987 .636 .948 .414 whom were male), boys expressed higher self-efﬁcacy (M = 5.73, SD = 1.28 and M = 5.36, SD = 1.22, respectively) than girls (M = 4.78, SD = .94 and M = 4.51, SD = 1.08, respectively, ps < .005). Also, only in the classrooms taught by teacher F boys perceived higher teacher expectations (M = 5.14, SD = 1.07) than girls (M = 3.81, SD = 1.42). As Table 8 shows, student beliefs correlated signiﬁcantly with perceived parental support, and the two teacher variables (all ps < .001). Students who thought that their parents and teachers encouraged them to develop their ICT knowledge and skills expressed positive self-efﬁcacy and value beliefs, and those who perceived learning activities as creative and personally relevant tended to also have positive beliefs about the value of ICT learning. However, some of the correlations were signiﬁcantly different by gender. The correlation between self-efﬁcacy beliefs and perceived parental expectations as well as the correlation between value beliefs and perceived task creativity was higher in boys than in girls (z = 2.1, p < 0.05 and z = 3.17, p < .005, respectively). In girls the correlation between value beliefs and perceived parental support was signiﬁcantly higher than the correlation between value beliefs and perceived task creativity (z = 4.69, p < .000). In boys the correlation between self-efﬁcacy beliefs and perceived parental support was signiﬁcantly higher than the correlation between self-efﬁcacy and perceived teacher expectations (z = 3.03, p < .005). Regression analyses were conducted using ICT self-efﬁcacy as outcome variable, and value beliefs, perceived parental support, perceptions of IS instruction, and perceived teacher expectations as predictor variables. The same analysis was performed using ICT value beliefs as outcome variable and self-efﬁcacy as a predictor. Socioeconomic status (SES) was also included as a predictor, after being transformed into two dichotomous variables.1 As expected, perceived parental support and perceived teacher expectations were strongly associated with both boys’ and girls’ efﬁcacy (see Table 9). However, in girls perceived teacher expectations emerged as the most signiﬁcant predictor but in boys it made a smaller contribution to the model. When value beliefs was used as the dependent variable, perceived parental support was the only signiﬁcant factor for girls, while in boys perceived parental support and perceptions of IS instruction emerged as equally signiﬁcant predictors (see Table 9). Also, self-efﬁcacy was a signiﬁcant predictor of value beliefs in boys but was not associated with girls’ value beliefs. Overall, these analyses indicated that girls were more susceptible to teacher expectations and were less inﬂuenced by the nature of IS instruction compared to boys. I repeated the above regression analysis using intrinsic value as the outcome variable. I hypothesized that learning IS with tasks that were perceived as creative and relevant to the real-world and to personal interests could be associated with girls’ intrinsic value beliefs but not necessarily with their views about the importance and usefulness of IS. Intrinsic value was measured using two items from the value beliefs scale (‘‘I enjoy working on the computer” and ‘‘I like learning new things and improving my knowledge about computers”, alpha = .60).2 Results conﬁrmed this hypothesis. As Table 9 shows, perceived parental support and perceptions of IS instruction emerged as signiﬁcant factors for both boys and girls. Interestingly, in girls teacher expectations was negatively associated with intrinsic value, although the correlation between these two variables was small (R = .168). Overall, girls and boys expressed strong and equally positive interest beliefs (M = 5.98, SD = 1.14 and M = 6.04, SD = 1.15, respectively). 1 SES1 was coded 1 for low SES and 0 for middle or high SES; SES2 was coded 1 for middle SES and 0 for low or upper–middle SES (therefore an upper–middle SES student would get 0 for each of the above two variables). 2 I did not perform the same analysis using attainment and utility value as outcome variables due to the small internal consistency of these two sub-scales (alphas were .48 and .51, respectively). 21 I. Vekiri / Computers & Education 55 (2010) 16–23 Table 7 Gender differences in self-efﬁcacy and value beliefs, and in perceptions of parental support, teacher expectations, and IS instruction by teacher group. Student beliefs and perceptions Self-efﬁcacy Boys Girls Value beliefs Boys Girls Perceived parental support Boys Girls Perceived teacher expectations Boys Girls Perceptions of IS instruction Boys Girls a b c d M (SD) A B C D E F G 4.82 (1.22) 4.82 (.74) 4.79 (1.59) 5.02 (1.03) 5.73 (.98) 5.67 (1.00) 5.73 (1.28)b 4.78 (.94)b 5.18 (1.37) 5.18 (.84) 5.36 (1.22)c 4.51 (1.08)c 4.76 (1.23) 5.01 (1.25) 5.26 (1.15)a 5.96 (.77)a 6.12 (.84) 6.04 (.91) 6.40 (.53) 6.23 (.56) 5.98 (.93) 5.59 (.99) 5.43 (1.29) 5.53 (1.11) 5.82 (.91) 5.38 (1.08) 5.45 (.90) 5.74 (.85) 4.74 (1.07) 5.37 (.80) 5.53 (1.41) 5.59 (.71) 5.86 (.60) 5.77 (.87) 5.52 (1.17) 5.19 (.98) 5.55 (1.31) 5.50 (.85) 5.38 (1.27) 5.23 (.99) 5.37 (1.00) 5.61 (.92) 4.43 (1.29) 4.82 (.96) 5.12 (1.32) 5.66 (.90) 5.67 (.90) 5.21 (1.08) 4.72 (1.53) 4.63 (1.01) 4.50 (1.90) 4.53 (1.14) 5.14 (1.07)d 3.81 (1.42)d 4.82 (1.17) 5.26 (1.21) 4.47 (1.35) 5.08 (1.36) 5.05 (1.45) 5.07 (1.20) 5.17 (.70) 5.41 (.96) 4.26 (1.23) 4.29 (.91) 4.60 (1.37) 4.67 (.81) 4.69 (.95) 4.59 (.86) 4.04 (1.20) 4.10 (1.39) p < .05. p < .005. p < .05. p < .005. Table 8 Intercorrelations between self-efﬁcacy, value beliefs, and perceptions of parental support, teacher expectations, and IS instruction. Girls (n = 166) 1. Self-efﬁcacy beliefs 2. Value beliefs 3. Perceived parental support 4. Perceived teacher expectations 5. Perceptions of IS instruction Boys (n = 135) 1. Self-efﬁcacy beliefs 2. Value beliefs 3. Perceived parental support 4. Perceived teacher expectations 5. Perceptions IS instruction * 1 2 3 4 5 – .393* – .498* .619* – .558* .265* .395* – .361* .285* .274* .422* – – .579* – .694* .664* – .493* .424* .448* – .334* .581* .400* .348* – Signiﬁcance at the 0.001 level. Table 9 Multiple regression standardized coefﬁcients for variables predicting boys’ (n = 135) and girls’ (n = 166) ICT self-efﬁcacy beliefs, value beliefs, and interest. Predictors Self-efﬁcacyA Boys Step 1 SES1 SES2 IT value Self-efﬁcacy Parental support Step 2 SES1 SES2 IT value Self-efﬁcacy Parental support IS instruction Teacher expectations A B C a b c Value beliefsB Girls .03 .08 .24b .12 .02 .16 .54a .42a .00 .07 .22c .13c .02 .13 .49a .05 .19b .26b .10 .38a Boys InterestC Girls Boys Girls .03 .08 .10 .07 .07 .05 .09 .10 .26b .48a .13 .53a .22c .34b .15 .36a .01 .06 .09 .08 .04 .03 .06 .11 .21c .36a .35a .04 .13 .53a .10 .07 .19 .25c .33a .03 .17 .35a .26a .20c For boys: R2 = .519 for Step 1, DR2 = .026 for Step 2; for girls: R2=.281 for Step 1, DR2 = .155 for Step 2. For boys: R2 = .467 for Step 1, DR2 = .112 for Step 2; for girls: R2 = .411 for Step 1, DR2 = .008 for Step 2. For boys: R2 = .262 for Step 1, DR2 = .091 for Step 2; for girls: R2 = .248 for Step 1; DR2 = .062 for Step 2. p < .001. p < .005. p < .05. 22 I. Vekiri / Computers & Education 55 (2010) 16–23 5. Discussion The ﬁndings of the study conﬁrmed the hypothesis that student perceptions of teacher expectations, teacher instructional practices and parental support are related to student motivational beliefs about ICT(s). As expected, perceived teacher expectations were positively associated with students’ beliefs about their computer competence. Also, student perceptions of learning activities as creative and personally relevant was a signiﬁcant predictor of intrinsic value beliefs (interest) in girls and of value beliefs in boys. Finally, perceived parental support was related to both value and efﬁcacy beliefs. Unlike previous research, the ﬁndings of this study did not support the conclusion that boys have more positive ICT self-efﬁcacy and value beliefs than girls. The study indicated, however, that boys’ and girls’ beliefs are differentially affected by parents, teachers, and school IS instruction. Speciﬁcally, perceived teacher expectations was more signiﬁcant for girls’ than it was for boys’ efﬁcacy, while the opposite was true regarding perceived parental support. Also, perceptions of IS instruction was more important predictor of boys’ than of girls’ ICT intrinsic value beliefs. ICTs are integrated into many aspects of every day life and most young people develop competencies and beliefs about ICTs before they beginning studying computing at school (Mumtaz, 2001; Vekiri & Chronaki, 2008). The ﬁndings of the study show that, despite the powerful role of parents and home ICT use in the development of student attitudes and beliefs, teachers can inﬂuence student interest and ability perceptions through their pedagogical practices and the expectations they communicate. According to the ﬁndings of this study, teachers are likely to enhance student interest in computing as a discipline if they utilise learner-centered approaches, possibly because the latter are more compatible with young people’s everyday experiences with ICTs. Students’ out of school ICT activities are characterized by exploration, control, choice, variety, and challenge (Facer, Sutherland, Furlong, & Furlong, 2001; Mumtaz, 2001; Pedró, 2007). Students engage in tasks that are relevant to their everyday world and important for the accomplishment of their personal goals (Facer et al., 2001). They use ICTs in the context of social activities and as means to communicate and make new acquaintances (Pedró, 2007). While traditional instruction creates a dissonance between home and school computer learning (Mumtaz, 2001), student-centered, exploratory learning approaches can capitalize on students’ early home experiences to help them improve their ICT skills and deepen their understanding of computing. A signiﬁcant ﬁnding of the study is that student-centered approaches to information science instruction are motivating for both boys and girls. Data analysis showed that boys and girls who were taught by the same teacher provided similar ratings of classroom instruction, which indicates that they agreed on the extend to which instruction gave them opportunities to be creative and was relevant to their personal interests and everyday life. However, although positive perceptions of instruction were associated with positive beliefs about the value of ICTs in boys, in girls it was only associated with interest in ICTs. This indicates that using student-centered teaching approaches may have a positive impact on girls’ enjoyment and interest in computers but may not affect their perceptions of the importance and usefulness of computing, which are likely inﬂuenced by other psychological processes. As the work of Eccles and her colleagues has shown (Eccles, 1994), beliefs about the importance and usefulness of particular activities (attainment and utility beliefs, respectively) are related to student long-term plans and personal values. One important gender difference is that girls value people- and society-oriented activities and occupations while males show preference for ‘‘thing”-oriented tasks (Josefowicz, Barber, & Eccles, 1993). The stereotyped view that IT professions involve menial tasks that have no relevance to everyday life and offer no opportunities for human interaction, which is held by many young people (Clarke & Teague, 1996; Papastergiou, 2008), is inconsistent with girls’ personal values. Therefore, it appears that changing girls’ beliefs about the importance and personal usefulness of ICTs may require other types of instructional interventions which would directly target stereotypes about the nature of information science as a discipline and misconceptions about the variety and characteristics of IT professions. Of interest was also the ﬁnding that perceived teacher expectations was more strongly associated with girls’ than with boys’ self-efﬁcacy beliefs. One possible interpretation of this ﬁnding is that girls rely more on information provided by their teachers than from their parents to form an opinion about their computer abilities, while parents are more important socializers for boys. This in turn could happen due to gender differences in computer experiences outside the school context. Research shows that, compared to girls, boys have more opportunities outside school to become involved in ICT activities and to experience success with ICTs (Barker & Aspray, 2006; Vekiri & Chronaki, 2008; Volman & van Eck, 2001), and therefore they may rely more on their parents for information regarding their ICT competence. If, on the other hand, school provides the main context where many girls can develop advanced computer skills, then the teacher becomes an important source of efﬁcacy information. The above stress the necessity for future research to examine the effects of teacher behavior and instructional practices on boys’ and girls’ ICT beliefs. The correlational design of the study does not permit conclusions of causality between the predictors and the outcome variables or about the direction of a causality. This limitation could be overcome with longitudinal research examining changes in students’ beliefs over time which could be attributed to changes in the learning environment and to teacher practices. There is also a need to study other aspects of classroom instruction, such as the extend to which learning tasks are connected to other academic subjects or demonstrate the practical applications of information science to various professions and everyday problems, and to explore their relationship with different components of students’ value beliefs. The ﬁndings of the present study are not consistent with previous research showing that female students perceived gender stereotyped views (Shashaani, 1993) and discrimination (Singh, 1993) in their teachers’ behavior. Based on their responses, boys and girls perceived similar teacher expectations. Only in one teacher group perceived teacher expectations were higher in boys compared to girls. However, given the observed magnitude of the relationship between perceived teacher expectations and female students’ self-efﬁcacy, it is important in future studies to examine how teachers communicate expectations and personal beliefs about gender issues to the students as well as the long-term effects of teacher expectations and beliefs on student self-efﬁcacy beliefs and academic choices. Future research needs to focus both on practices that may reproduce gender inequalities as well as on pedagogical approaches that can provide boys and girls with equal access to positive ICT experiences and learning opportunities. References Aukrust, V. G. (2008). Boys’ and girls’ conversational participation across four grade levels in Norwegian classrooms: Taking the ﬂoor or being given the ﬂoor? Gender and Education, 20(3), 237–252. Bandura, A. (1993). Perceived self-efﬁcacy in cognitive development and functioning. Educational Psychologist, 28(2), 117–148. I. Vekiri / Computers & Education 55 (2010) 16–23 23 Bandura, A., Barbaranelli, C., Caprara, G. V., & Pastorelli, C. (2001). Self-efﬁcacy beliefs as shapers of children’s aspirations and career trajectories. Child Development, 72(1), 187–206. Barker, L. J., & Aspray, W. (2006). The state of research on girls and IT. In J. McGrath Cohoon & W. Aspray (Eds.), Women and information technology: Research on underrepresentation (pp. 3–53). The MIT Press. Bleeker, M. M., & Jacobs, J. E. (2004). Achievement in math and science: Do mothers’ beliefs matter 12 years later? Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(1), 97–109. Blumenfeld, P. C., Soloway, E., Marx, R. W., Krajcik, J. S., Guzdial, M., & Palincsar, A. (1991). Motivating project-based learning: Sustaining the doing, supporting he learning. Educational Psychologist, 26(3&4), 369–398. Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, and experience. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Brunner, C., Bennett, D., & Honey, M. (1998). Girl games and technological desire. In J. Cassell & H. Jenkins (Eds.), From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and computer games. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Ching, C. C., Kafai, Y. B., & Marshall, S. K. (2000). Spaces for change: Gender and technology access in collaborative software design. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 9(1), 67–78. Clarke, V. A., & Teague, G. J. (1996). Characterizations of computing careers: Students and professionals disagree. Computers and Education, 26(4), 241–246. Clegg, S., Trayhurn, D., & Johnson, A. (2000). Not just for men: A case study of the teaching and learning of information technology in higher education. Higher education, 40, 123–145. Crombie, G., Abarbanel, T., & Trinneer, A. (2002). All-female classes in high school computer science: Positive effects in three years of data. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 27(4), 385–409. Dickhäuser, O., & Stiensmeier-Pelster, J. (2003). Gender differences in the choice of computer courses: Applying the expectancy-value model. Social Psychology of Education, 6, 173–189. Eccles, J. S. (1994). Understanding women’s educational and occupational choices. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18, 585–609. Eccles, J. S., Adler, T., & Kaczala, C. (1982). Socialization of achievement attitudes and beliefs: Parental inﬂuences. Child Development, 53(2), 310–321. Eccles, J. S., & Wigﬁeld, A. (1995). In the mind of the actor: The structure of adolescents’ achievement task values and expectancy-related beliefs. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21(3), 215–225. Eggen, P., & Kauchak, D. (1999). Educational psychology: Windows on classrooms. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Facer, K., Sutherland, R., Furlong, R., & Furlong, J. (2001). What’s the point of using computers? The development of young people’s computer expertise in the home. New Media and Society, 3(2), 199–219. Fennema, E., Peterson, P. L., Carpenter, T. P., & Lubinski, C. A. (1990). Teachers’ attributions and beliefs about girls, boys, and mathematics. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 21(1), 55–69. Goode, J., Estrella, R., & Margolis, J. (2006). Lost in translation: Gender and high school computer science. In J. McGrath Cohoon & W. Aspray (Eds.), Women and information technology: Research on underrepresentation (pp. 89–114). The MIT Press. Jones, S., & Dindia, K. (2004). A meta-analytic perspective on sex equity in the classroom. Review of Educational Research, 74(4), 443–471. Josefowicz, D. M., Barber, B. L., Eccles, J. S. (1993). Adolescent work-related values and beliefs: Gender differences and relation to occupational aspirations. In: Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development, New Orleans, Louisiana, March 28, 1993. Kontogiannopoulou-Polydorides, G., Georgakakos, S., & Zavoudakis, A. (1996). Greek schools and computer education: Socio-cultural interpretations. In T. Plomp, R. E. Anderson, & G. Kontogiannopoulou-Polydorides (Eds.), Cross-national policies and practices on computers in education (pp. 223–247). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Klewer Academic Press. Kordaki, M. (2001). Special characteristics of computer science: Effects on teaching and learning. Views of teachers. In: Paper presented at the 8th conference of the Greek Computer Society, Nicosia, Cyprus. Li, Q. (1999). Teachers’ beliefs and gender differences in mathematics: A review. Educational Research, 41(1), 63–76. Lynn, K.-M., Raphael, C., Olefsky, K., & Bachen, C. M. (2003). Bridging the gender gap in computing: An integrative approach to content design for girls. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 28(2), 143–162. Margolis, J., & Fisher, A. (2002). Unlocking the clubhouse: Women in computing. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. McKown, C., & Weinstein, R. S. (2002). Modeling the role of child ethnicity and gender in children’s differential response to teacher expectations. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32(1), 159–184. Meece, J. L., Glienke, B. B., & Burg, S. (2006). Gender and motivation. Journal of School Psychology, 44, 351–373. Moos, D. C., & Azevedo, R. (2009). Learning with computer-based learning environments: A literature review of computer self-efﬁcacy. Review of Educational Research, 79(2), 576–600. Mumtaz, S. (2001). Children’s enjoyment and perception of computer use in the home and the school. Computers and Education, 36(4), 347–362. Papastergiou, M. (2008). Are computer science and information technology still masculine ﬁelds? High school students’ perceptions and career choices. Computers and Education, 51(2), 594–608. Pedró, F. (2007). The new millennium learners. Challenging our views on technology and learning. Nordic Journal of Digital Competence, 2(4), 244–264. Pintrich, P. R., & DeGroot, E. V. (1990). Motivational and self-regulated learning components of classroom academic performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(1), 33–40. Schunk, D. H., Pintrich, P. R., & Meece, J. (2007). Motivation in education: Theory, research, and applications. Allyn & Bacon. Selwyn, N. (1998). The effect of using a home computer on students’ educational use of IT. Computers and Education, 31, 211–277. Shashaani, L. (1993). Gender-based differences in attitudes toward computers. Computers and Education, 20(2), 169–181. Singh, P. (1993). Institutional discourse and practice. A case study of the social construction of technological competence in the primary classroom. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 14(1), 39–58. Vekiri, I., & Chronaki, A. (2008). Gender issues in technology use: Perceived social support, computer self-efﬁcacy and value beliefs, and computer use beyond school. Computers and Education, 51, 1392–1404. Volman, M., & van Eck, E. (2001). Gender equity and information technology in education: The second decade. Review of Educational Research, 71(4), 613–634. Volman, M., van Eck, E., Heemskerk, I., & Kuiper, E. (2005). New technologies, new differences. Gender and ethnic differences in pupils’ use of ICT in primary and secondary education. Computers and Education, 24(1), 35–55. Vosniadou, S., & Kollias, V. (2001). Information and communication technology and the problem of teacher training: Myths, dreams and harsh reality. Themes in Education, 2(4), 341–365. Whitley, B. E. Jr., (1997). Gender differences in computer-related attitudes and behavior: A meta-analysis. Computers in Human Behavior, 13, 1–22. Wigﬁeld, A., & Eccles, J. S. (2000). Expectancy-value theory of achievement motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 68–81. Zarrett, N., Malanchuk, O., Davis-Kean, P. E., & Eccles, J. (2006). Examining the gender gap in IT by race: Young adults’ decisions to pursue an IT career. In J. McGrath Cohoon & W. Aspray (Eds.), Women and information technology: Research on underrepresentation (pp. 55–88). The MIT Press. Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Self-efﬁcacy: An essential motive to learn. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 82–91.