Secondary school girls' experiences of pair-programming in information technology
Liebenberg, Janet Adri
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The low number of girls in the secondary school phase taking Information Technology as a subject, is a reason for great concern in this era of rapid technological development we are living in. The pipeline shrinkage problem (females not persisting in the computer field) is another concern and requires interventions that makes girls understand the importance of the subject IT, and makes the subject at school level more enjoyable for them. Pair programming, whereby two programmers work at one computer on the same programming task, shows several promising properties for educational purposes. Furthermore, pair programming seems to have a positive effect in general on female computer science students at universities specifically in terms of enjoyment and on their view of the importance of the subject and a career in IT and resulting in an improvement in their enrollment and retention rate in IT. This research was done to understand how pair programming shapes secondary school girls' experiences in the IT class. The literature study investigates girls' attitudes towards computers and the factors that have an effect on girls attitudes and involvement in the computer environment. Furthermore a review of pair programming was done with attention to the advantages of pair programming in general and specifically to girls. The empirical study was aimed at determining to what extent does pair programming change girls' enjoyment of programming and the subject IT, as well as the importance they attach to programming, the subject IT and to a career in IT. Analysis of the girls' responses before and after pair programming leads to the conclusion that pair programming increases girls enjoyment and view of importance of programming, the subject IT and a career in IT. This knowledge can convince IT teachers that pair programming is an untapped resource worth considering in any programming class, but especially to attract and retain more girls to IT.
- Education