1 Instituto Politécnico de Viseu - Escola Superior de Educação (PORTUGAL)
2 Universidade de Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN19 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 3935-3940
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.1009
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
This paper reports some of the results obtained in an descriptive and exploratory study about the use of communication technologies in a Portuguese Public Higher Education Institution. One of the matters studied in this project is gender and, within this paper, the focus will be placed on the exploration of gender related issues concerning the students’ access and use of the Internet.

Research concerning gender is considered in the literature, and explores subjects such as: gender differences in the use of ICT; the perception of the impact of the use of technology in the students’ lives; the attitudes towards technology; the students’ perceptions about their competences to use ICT, among other issues.

Within this study, information was gathered through an online questionnaire, covering several issues relating to the use of communication technologies, which was made available online to all the higher education schools of a Portuguese Polytechnic Higher Education Institution. The sample was made up of 164 students (46 male and 118 female) from 3 different higher education schools (Education, Agriculture and Technology and Management), and in this paper we report data related to gender differences in student´s frequency of use, activities, consumption and content sharing when using communication technologies.

The data analysis indicates that differences between female students and male students are not statistically significant regarding the daily frequency they access the Internet (p = .514) and in the daily average use of the Internet (p = .265). In relation to the devices they use, there are significant differences: female students use mobile phones more significantly (p = .009) and male students report a more intensive use of portable computers (p = .015).

Statistical tests also revealed that there are significant gender differences in relation to online activities. In this case, male students seem to play more online (p = .001), make more downloads (p = .026), and participate significantly more in forums and/or mailing lists (p = .002) than female students.

Concerning the development of skills for internet use, the results show that male students developed their skills for internet use autonomously (p = .040), and female students with did so with their family’s support (p = .020). The results have also shown that male students consume significantly more information content (p = .005), music (p = .008), video clips (p = .040) and short duration animations than female students (p = .008).

The results of this study have the potential to contribute for a better understanding of gender related issues in a context where, according to literature review and in the case of Portuguese Higher Education, this matter is rarely looked into.
Gender, internet, students, higher education.