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Gender Differences in the Use of Laptops in Higher Education: A Formative Analysis ARTICLE


Journal of Educational Computing Research Volume 44, Number 3, ISSN 0735-6331


Over the past 18 years, a number of large scale reviews of the literature have documented that gender differences in computer attitudes, ability, and use tend to favor males. Since the use of laptops in higher education classrooms is increasing, it is important to examine whether this use is disproportionally advantageous to males and disadvantageous to females. The purpose of this study was to explore gender differences in the use of laptops in higher education classrooms. Two key areas were examined: on-task behaviors (note-taking, academic activities, instant messaging) and off-task behaviors (e-mail, instant messaging, games, movies, distractions). With respect to on-task behaviors, females reported significantly more note-taking and participation in academic laptop-based activities. No gender differences were observed with respect to instant messaging for academic purposes. Regarding off-task behaviors, females were more distracted by their peers' use of laptops than males, whereas males reported that they played significantly more games during class. Recommendations for future research include expanding the breadth of off- and on-task behaviors assessed, exploring the role of teaching strategies, and focusing on learning performance. (Contains 6 tables.)


Kay, R.H. & Lauricella, S. (2011). Gender Differences in the Use of Laptops in Higher Education: A Formative Analysis. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 44(3), 361-380. Retrieved September 22, 2018 from .

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