ATTITUDES TOWARDS ICT AND COMPUTER COMPETENCE AMONG UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
Universitat Jaume I (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Research on Social Psychology has revealed that people who hold positive attitudes (understood as a multidimensional construct) can be assumed to behave in a way which allows them to approach, support or improve the attitude object. With regard to negative attitudes, the opposite outcome could be expected. Consistent with this, positive attitudes towards ICT could predict computer-related behaviours, such as higher computer competence (i.e., greater computer-related knowledge and skills). However, previous studies also evidenced that there are gender differences in the technology field, due to a prevalence of gender stereotypes. In general, women display poorer attitudes towards ICT and are less competent in handling computers, as technology has traditionally been associated to men. So gender could be one of the variables that helps to understand the inequalities in ICT access and usage among individuals – the so-called digital divide. The aim of this study is to analyse the relationship between attitudes towards ICT and computer competence and also to explore the gender differences in those variables. The sample was composed of 200 Spanish university students (N = 96 men and N = 104 women). In agreement with our expectations, the results show there is a positive relationship between attitudes towards ICT and computer competence: the higher the attitude towards ICT is, the higher the level of competence in computers will be. In contrast, we did not find any gender differences in the variables that were studied. Women did not hold poorer attitudes towards ICT or have lower computer competence than their male peers. This could lead us to conclude that in university settings the digital divide between men and women is likely to be buffered. The implications of the results for the university teaching-learning process, future research guidelines, and limitations of the study are also discussed.
Keywords: Attitudes towards ICT, computer competence, gender.