An exploratory/descriptive look at gender differences in technology self-efficacy and academic self-efficacy in the GlobalEd Project

Date of Completion

January 2002


Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Secondary|Education, Technology of




The infusion of technology into today's educational environment is pervasive. Technology is increasingly being used across all academic levels in a wide variety of ways, not only as the curriculum but also as a tool to enhance learning in a multitude of subject areas. With this increased utilization, the role of technology self-efficacy and academic self-efficacy in the lives of today's students appears to be important. According to Busch (1995), “Gender differences with regard to perceived self-efficacy expectations and attitudes towards computers represents an important issue in the area of computer education” (p. 147). The increasing proliferation of technology and the current lack of equality between the genders regarding technology suggest that more attention needs to be given to addressing this lack of parity. ^ The purpose of the present investigation was to explore whether parity existed between genders in the constructs of technology and academic self-efficacy and what factors may be of influence. The context for this study was the GlobalEd Project, a classroom based, problem-based simulation that uses technologies such as email, and synchronous and asynchronous discussion areas to facilitate communication between groups of students at various high school locations who represent different countries for a period of six weeks. ^ Data for this investigation were obtained from a group of 231 high school students from the northeastern United States. Participants completed a student information, technology self-efficacy and academic self-efficacy questionnaire both before and after participating in the GlobalEd project. Results from this investigation indicated that males reported statistically significant higher levels of technology self-efficacy both at pre-test and post-test (p < 0.05). Academic self-efficacy measures indicated that females had statistically significant higher self-efficacy at both pre and post-test (p < 0.05). Significant gender differences were also detected for reports of average amount of time spent on the internet, average amount of time spent on homework, and willingness to participate in another technology intensive course. The findings of the current investigation are consistent with the literature regarding gender differences as described by Halpern (2000). ^