Thursday, June 9, 2016

Fourth and fifth graders: females score significantly higher on digital tasks than males

The online reading, writing, and communication practices of students have
been of significant interest to literacy researchers and teachers throughout
the last several years, as insights into what students are currently doing in and
outside of school can inform what they can be expected to know and be able
to do in digital environments. Yet, little is known about the online activities,
perceptions, preferences, and skills of preadolescent students
The present study reports the performance of 1,262 fourth and fifth graders on 
the Survey of Internet Use and Online Reading. Results were analyzed to determine
whether there are gender differences in preadolescent students’ Internet
activities, perceptions, preferences, and skills. Findings from descriptive and
comparative analyses of students’ responses indicate that (a) preadolescent
students in this study are moderately skilled at online search, evaluation,
and communication tasks, with females scoring significantly higher on digital
tasks than males; (b) preadolescent students engage in many digital tasks
more frequently in school than outside of school; (c) despite reporting a
preference for using the Internet, preadolescent students believe that it is
more difficult to use it than to read a book, and believe that they would learn
more from a book than from the Internet; and (d) there is a significant gender 
difference in students’ skills and confidence related to digital tasks, and
students’ perceptions of their own skills may not align with their achievement
on digital skills–based tasks.

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