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Sultan, U., Axell, C. & Hallström, J. (2024). Bringing girls and women into STEM?: Girls’ technological activities and conceptions when participating in an all-girl technology camp. International journal of technology and design education, 34(2), 647-671
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bringing girls and women into STEM?: Girls’ technological activities and conceptions when participating in an all-girl technology camp
2024 (English)In: International journal of technology and design education, ISSN 0957-7572, E-ISSN 1573-1804, Vol. 34, no 2, p. 647-671Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Bringing more girls and women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics, STEM, is often highlighted as an aim in education and industry. A constantly growing body of research on engagement is driven by equity concerns caused by the unbalanced gender distribution in STEM. In this study, Swedish teenage girls on a three-day technol- ogy camp are in focus. The camp was an initiative with three goals: “Get girls interested, keep girls interested and provide knowledge about futures within technology professions”. We explored the participating girls’ technological activities and conceptions of technology at the camp. Data collection was conducted through participant observations and a focus group interview. Data were analysed using thematic analysis and a gender theoretical framework. Results show the camp presented uncertain notions of what technology can be, and traditionally male-oriented domains were “girlified”. However, girlified activities might not have been constructive in this context since the girls expressed interest in technology before the camp and showed few signs of gendering technology – they liked all kinds of technology. Girlified technology can, at its worst, give a false image of the future industrial work life that the camp organiser aimed to inspire. Despite this, the camp activities were still meaningful and relevant to the girls. The camp created opportunities for the girls to develop their sense of being technical and a feeling of belonging. Implications for technology classroom settings and future camps are to value practical work and improvisational design without leaving the teaching unreflected. This could be a way of engaging and familiarising girls with the multifaceted world of technology without girlifying it. In addition, a broad conception of technology could make gender codes less relevant and open new opportunities. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Nature, 2024
Keywords
Technology Education, Technology Camp, Gender and Technology, STEM, Girls Interest In Technology, All-Girl Activity
National Category
Educational Sciences Gender Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-197643 (URN)10.1007/s10798-023-09831-z (DOI)001171383700003 ()
Funder
Linköpings universitet
Note

Funding: Linköping University

Available from: 2023-09-05 Created: 2023-09-05 Last updated: 2024-04-11Bibliographically approved
Sultan, U. (2024). In whose eyes am I technical?: Exploring the ‘problem’ of the (non)technical girl. (Doctoral dissertation). Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press
Open this publication in new window or tab >>In whose eyes am I technical?: Exploring the ‘problem’ of the (non)technical girl
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
I vems ögon är jag teknisk? : En studie om ”problemet” med den teknik(o)intresserade flickan
Abstract [en]

In Sweden, girls’ non-interest in technology education and technological careers has been a topic of focus for many years, both in general and in politics, and it has influenced how the subject has been taught in schools. The thesis aims to critically examine the ‘problem’ of the (non)technical girl. This is done through four different studies. The first explores girls’ (age 10-17) engagement and interest in technology, according to international scientific literature (Study I). It is followed by studies of girls’ (age 9-14) activities, self-image and performativity in technology education, both in and out of school (Studies II, III). Lastly, the theory and empirical findings on gender, technology, and the technical girl and their implications for technology and STEM education from the first three studies were applied in Study IV. The thesis uses a theoretical framework based on concepts from the philosophy of technology and gender theory, primarily the three gender levels: the symbolic, the structural, and the individual. Data collection includes participant observation and focus group interviews with girls who have participated in technology education and camp activities, and data analysis is carried out using thematic analysis and qualitative content analysis. The findings from the first study confirm the general pattern of girls’ lesser interest in technology and call for the need to add a gender perspective. In contrast, studies II and III highlight the complex inter-action between girls’ activities and self-image in technology. Although girls in study II con-firm prevailing gender norms around technology, the results also show ambiguity and resistance to stereotypes, primarily when they work together and engage in their tasks in technology. Study III shows ambivalence about the “girlification” of technology to suit girls, and emphasises that girls’ interest in technology extends beyond gendered activities. Study IV reveals implications for technology and STEM education, pointing to potential gender pit-falls and stereotypical responses. The discussion contributes new insights into girls’ perceptions of themselves as technical. It advocates for a gender perspective in technology education research to uncover social barriers hindering girls from embracing their technical abilities. The emphasis lies in questioning established ‘problems,’ challenging gender norms, promoting inclusivity, and recognising diverse interests and skills in technology. 

Abstract [sv]

I Sverige har flickors ointresse för teknikutbildning och tekniska karriärer varit ett fokusområde under många år, både i allmänhet och inom politiken, och det har påverkat hur ämnet har undervisats i skolorna. Avhandlingen syftar till att kritiskt granska "problemet" med den teknik(o)intresserade flickan. Detta görs genom fyra olika studier. Den första undersöker hur flickors (ålder 10-17) engagemang och intresse för teknik och teknikutbildning ser ut enligt internationella studier (Studie I). Därefter undersöks flickors (ålder 9-14) aktiviteter, självbild och performativitet i teknikutbildning både inom och utanför skolan (Studie II, III). Studie IV är en didaktisk tillämpning av teori och empiri om genus, teknik och den tekniska flickan från de tre första studierna. Avhandlingen använder ett teoretiskt ramverk baserat på begrepp från teknikfilosofi och genusteori, framförallt de tre genusnivåerna: den symboliska, den strukturella och den individuella. Datainsamlingen omfattar deltagande observationer och fokusgruppintervjuer med flickor som deltagit i teknikundervisning och lägeraktiviteter, och analysen genomförs med tematisk analys och kvalitativ innehållsanalys. Resultaten från studie I bekräftar det generella mönstret av flickors minskade intresse för teknik och efterlyser ett genusperspektiv. Studie II och III belyser däremot den komplexa interaktionen mellan flickors aktiviteter och självbild inom teknikområdet. Trots att flickor i studie II bekräftar rådande könsnormer kring teknik, visar resultaten även på en tvetydighet och motstånd mot stereotyper, särskilt när de arbetar tillsammans och förfogar över sitt teknikarbete. Studie III visar på ambivalens kring ”tjejifiering” av teknik och betonar att flickors intresse för teknik sträcker sig bortom könsbestämda aktiviteter. Studie IV visar på implikationer för teknik- och STEM-utbildning, och pekar på potentiella könsrelaterade fall-gropar och stereotypa svar.  Diskussionen bidrar med nya insikter om flickors uppfattning om sig själva som tekniska. Där förespråkas värdet av genusperspektiv i forskning om teknikutbildning för att blotta sådant som hindrar flickor från att omfamna sina tekniska förmågor. Tonvikten ligger dock på att ifrågasätta etablerade "problem", utmana könsnormer, främja inkludering och erkänna olika intressen och färdigheter inom teknik.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2024. p. 154
Series
Studies in Science and Technology Education, ISSN 1652-5051 ; 125
Keywords
Technology education, Girls’ interest in technology, Gender, Technical, STEM, Teknikdidaktik, Flickors teknikintresse, Genus, Teknisk, STEM
National Category
Educational Sciences Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-201403 (URN)10.3384/9789180755979 (DOI)9789180755962 (ISBN)9789180755979 (ISBN)
Public defence
2024-04-05, K1, Kåkenhus, Campus Norrköping, Norrköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2024-03-07 Created: 2024-03-07 Last updated: 2024-03-07Bibliographically approved
Sultan, U. (2023). Girls' technological knowledge. In: The 40th International Pupils’ Attitudes Towards Technology Conference: Proceedings 2023, 1(October). Paper presented at The 40th International Pupils’ Attitudes Towards Technology Conference.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Girls' technological knowledge
2023 (English)In: The 40th International Pupils’ Attitudes Towards Technology Conference: Proceedings 2023, 1(October), 2023Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This study investigates technological knowledge among 13-14-year-old girls at a technology-focused summer camp using a Science and Technology Studies (STS) lens. As they are already interested in technology, they attend the camp out of genuine interest instead of ones to become interested. The girls' expressions of technological knowledge are aligned with societal norms associating technology with hands-on engagement and activities, solidifying their self as belonging in technology. While the camp introduced certain gendered assumptions through "girlified" tasks, the girls wished to transcend these stereotypical activities. They wanted to broaden their technological interests beyond the confines of gendered expectations. Actor networks and external recognition influence their technological knowledge, often motivating their engagement in technology. During an interview, the girls voiced dissatisfaction with existing technology education, mentioning uninspiring teaching methods, outdated materials, and a focus on theory. The girls were critical of the technology education they encountered and emphasised the value of practical learning and a longing for real-life applicable skills. Despite some finding technology classes engaging, low self-confidence in comparison to boys emerged, possibly due to teacher expectations. Their inclination towards practical experiences highlights the importance of a well-rounded learning approach. Implications for school technology education curricula underscore the significance of blending theory with practical application to keep technical girls engaged. By embracing girls' perspectives, educators can craft initiatives that resonate with their interests, rejecting the need for gender-specific content. These insights challenge the stereotype that technical knowledge is gender-bound, recognising that girls' genuine interest is an asset.

Keywords
technological knowledge, Technology Education, Technical Girls, Girlification, STEM camp
National Category
Gender Studies Didactics Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-199010 (URN)
Conference
The 40th International Pupils’ Attitudes Towards Technology Conference
Available from: 2023-11-06 Created: 2023-11-06 Last updated: 2023-11-06
Sultan, U. (2022). Gendering the curriculum (2ed.). In: Alison Hardy (Ed.), Debates in Design and Technology Education: (pp. 134-148). New York: Routledge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gendering the curriculum
2022 (English)In: Debates in Design and Technology Education / [ed] Alison Hardy, New York: Routledge , 2022, 2, p. 134-148Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Design and technology is a relatively new subject compared to more traditional subjects, and during its brief existence, it has garnered widespread debate in schools. This book aims to explore some of these debates and challenges the reader with new perspectives about the subject by presenting and questioning arguments about the purpose, content and place of design and technology in the school curriculum. It will encourage the reader to critically reflect on their own beliefs and practices to reach informed judgements and perspectives that will affect how they teach and think about design and technology. Exploring the major issues that design and technology teachers encounter in their professional lives as well as introducing new topics they may never have considered before, this comprehensive second edition has been fully updated with 16 chapters focusing on emerging and enduring debates: How do we do race in design and technology? What’s so special about design and technology anyway? What is design cognition in design and technology classrooms? What is the potential of feedback in the creative processes of a design and technology classroom? Does food fit in design and technology? What is the role of making in design and technology?  With its combination of expert opinion and fresh insight, Debates in Design and Technology Education is the ideal companion for any student or practising teacher engaged in initial training, continuing professional development or master’s-level study.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Routledge, 2022 Edition: 2
Keywords
dandt, dt, designandtechnology, design and technology, gender, gendering, gender and technology, teaching, engineering, Didactics, Pedagogy, Learning, teknikdidaktik, ämnesdidaktik, didaktik, pedagogik, lärande
National Category
Didactics Pedagogy Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-201401 (URN)9780367763732 (ISBN)
Available from: 2024-03-07 Created: 2024-03-07 Last updated: 2024-03-14Bibliographically approved
Sultan, U., Sannö, A. & Bruch, J. (2021). A day when girls helped solve real engineering problems: – An initiative to improve girls’ engagement in technology. In: : . Paper presented at NFSUN 2021: Science Education in the light of Global Sustainable Development – Trends and possibilities. Hosted by VIA University College in Aarhus, Denmark on June 1.-2..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A day when girls helped solve real engineering problems: – An initiative to improve girls’ engagement in technology
2021 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Studies has shown girls being less interested and more negative towards technology but also on the potential for improving engagement, - if initiatives for females are taken in early ages. This study reports on an event where almost sixty girls, ages 10 and 11, helped solve real engineering problems for a leading manufacturer of construction equipment. The girls gathered for half a day at a university where they were scaffold by teams of university staff, engineering students and engineers from the manufacturer. In advance to the event, workshops were held to guide the participating adults, including the girl’s teachers, in the best practices and didactics in the research field of females’ interest in technology. This paper describes the process of engaging both adults and girls as well as the findings from the workshops, where recordings where taken up. The finding is that girls were engaged in finding solutions when adults were adapting didactics and providing real world problems. It also shows the strength of the diverse thinking, pushing the boundaries of future emerging technologies. This knowledge can be used by teachers or lecturers as guidance as they strive for technology to be an attractive school subject for girls. 

National Category
Didactics Other Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-176048 (URN)
Conference
NFSUN 2021: Science Education in the light of Global Sustainable Development – Trends and possibilities. Hosted by VIA University College in Aarhus, Denmark on June 1.-2.
Available from: 2021-06-02 Created: 2021-06-02 Last updated: 2022-12-08Bibliographically approved
Sultan, U. & Sannö, A. (2021). Girls’ engagement in technology: – an initiative moving from theory to practice. In: The 38th Pupils’ Attitude Toward Technology Conference Book of Abstracts.: . Paper presented at The 38th Pupils’ Attitudes Toward Technology Conference, Rauma, Finland, 27th – 30th April, 2021. Oslo Metropolitan University
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Girls’ engagement in technology: – an initiative moving from theory to practice
2021 (English)In: The 38th Pupils’ Attitude Toward Technology Conference Book of Abstracts., Oslo Metropolitan University , 2021Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Gendered interest and engagement is an established research agenda in the field of technology education. With studies concluding girls being less interested and more negative towards technology. But also, on the potential for improving engagement, - if initiatives for girls are given in early ages. This study reports on a two-step initiative inspired by the research stages DS-I and DS-II of design research methodology, DRM.  

Step one was developing a concept based on the previous research findings on keeping girls engaged in technology education. Resulting in an out of school event at a university where university staff, engineering students and engineers from a manufacturer worked together to scaffold girls solving engineering problems. Problems provided by a local manufacturer of construction equipment. These problems where authentic, open-ended and provided opportunities for the girls to collaborate and create prototypes. Before the main event, workshops were held for the participating adults, and the girl’s teachers. Aiming to develop their familiarity of the research field of girls’ interest in technology and the subjects design process. The main event spanned half a day at the university and involved nearly sixty girls, ages 10 and 11. Data was analyzed using DS-II and theory of the three levels of gender. 

Following DRM, step two is built on the knowledge learnt from the first step. Instead of an out of school event 11-year-old girls now engage in problem solving during lessons in technology education. Solving the same problems as in step one. The girls are supported online by engineers and engineering students one hour every week. After four weeks, the girls will present their solutions to the involved manufacturer and university. The second step of the initiative is arranged during Mars and April 2021. All sessions are screen recorded and will be analysed using DRM and theory of the three levels of gender. Data and conclusions are to be presented when collected and processed. 

The initial findings from step one based on visual media and filed notes indicates girls are engaged in finding solutions when provided with real world problems and are scaffolded by adults. When asked six months after the event 70% of the participating girls reported to be interested in continuing studies in technology. As one of the girls said “I had no idea that I liked technology this much“. We also highlight the difference in views of technology and problem solving amongst the participating adults. As an example, the teachers wanted more technical complex problems to solve whilst the engineers had difficulties with not trying to solve the problems themselves. The study also brings forth how an initiative like this can be a link to helping teachers engage with professional practice and ensuring the subject is modern and relevant. The full paper aims to describe the DRM process of moving from theory to practice as well as presenting findings from the initiative. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oslo Metropolitan University, 2021
Series
Techne serien, ISSN 1893-1774
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-175624 (URN)
Conference
The 38th Pupils’ Attitudes Toward Technology Conference, Rauma, Finland, 27th – 30th April, 2021
Available from: 2021-05-10 Created: 2021-05-10 Last updated: 2022-12-08Bibliographically approved
Sultan, U. & Hoffman, U. (2021). Teknik: 10 insikter om tjejers teknikintresse. Stockholm: Teknikföretagen
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teknik: 10 insikter om tjejers teknikintresse
2021 (Swedish)Report (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [sv]

Teknikföretag behöver fler tekniker, ingenjörer och andra kreativa medarbetare både idag och i framtiden. För att det ska bli möjligt kan inte tekniska  utbildningar väljs bort av nästan halva befolkningen, i alla fall inte när det beror på saker som samhället har en möjlighet att påverka.

Vi talar naturligtvis om att bara en femtedel av alla elever på Teknikprogrammet på gymnasiet är tjejer och att andelen på ingenjörsutbildningar generellt bara är något högre. Vi riskerar en teknikutveckling som inte blir jämlik.

För att bidra till förändring i denna fråga arbetar vi på Teknikföretagen sedan flera år tillbaka aktivt med att få fler tjejer att välja teknik. Våra initiativ och satsningar sker inom en mängd olika områden, där kunskapsinhämtning och spridning är en viktig del, eftersom vi är många som behöver dra sitt till stacken. Rapporten du har framför dig är ett sätt för oss att dela med oss av kunskaper vi samlat på oss. Vi samarbetar sedan många år med analysföretaget Ungdomsbarometern, som på kvantitativ och kvalitativ väg genomfört mängder av studier kopplat till ungas teknikintresse och bilden av teknikutbildningar.

Genom att sammanställa några av de viktigaste insikterna från dessa studier, tillsammans med analyser och kommentarer från forskaren och teknikläraren Ulrika Sultan, hoppas vi inspirera fler till att reflektera kring varför det ser ut som det gör och till åtgärder som leder till att fler tjejer väljer teknikutbildningar och vill jobba med teknik – oavsett om det är i våra medlemsföretag eller någon annanstans.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Teknikföretagen, 2021. p. 17
Keywords
flickors teknikintresse, Globala målen, hållbar utveckling, teknikundervisning, Flickor
National Category
Learning Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-181404 (URN)
Available from: 2021-11-24 Created: 2021-11-24 Last updated: 2022-12-08Bibliographically approved
Löfgren, J., Adawi, T., Berge, M., Huff, J., Murzi, H., Direito, I., . . . Sultan, U. (2020). Emotions in engineering education: Towards a research agenda. In: : . Paper presented at Frontiers in Education 2020 - Education for a sustainable future, Online, October 21-24, 2020. IEEE
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Emotions in engineering education: Towards a research agenda
Show others...
2020 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This Work-in-Progress research paper describes preliminary work on a research agenda for emotions in engineering education. Emotions play an important role for teaching and learning in engineering education, but research on the topic is scarce. To spur research in this area, the authors participate in an international collaboration that aims to map existing research, identify questions that are under-researched, and outline important questions for future research on emotions in engineering education. In this paper, we describe preliminary work that has been done in preparation of an international symposium during which a first draft of the research agenda on emotions in engineering education will be developed. At FIE 2020, we will present both this preparatory work and the agenda itself.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE, 2020
Series
Frontiers in Education Conference, ISSN 0190-5848
Keywords
emotions, engineering education, research agenda
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-171762 (URN)10.1109/FIE44824.2020.9273951 (DOI)000646660800083 ()9781728189611 (ISBN)
Conference
Frontiers in Education 2020 - Education for a sustainable future, Online, October 21-24, 2020
Available from: 2020-12-02 Created: 2020-12-02 Last updated: 2022-12-08Bibliographically approved
Sultan, U., Axell, C. & Hallström, J. (2020). Technical or not? Investigating the self-image of girls aged 9 to 12 when participating in primary technology education. Design and Technology Education: An International Journal, 25(2), 175-191
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Technical or not? Investigating the self-image of girls aged 9 to 12 when participating in primary technology education
2020 (English)In: Design and Technology Education: An International Journal, ISSN 1360-1431, E-ISSN 2040-8633, Vol. 25, no 2, p. 175-191Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Variance in interest and engagement by gender is a complex and long-standing research agenda in the field of technology education. Studies report that girls are more reluctant to participate in technology education, less interested in the subject and more negative towards technology than boys. It is argued that specific attitudes and roles hinder girls from engaging in technology education because technology is presented as a predominantly male domain, which fuels ideas about what technological agency is as well as whose interest in technology and what kind of technology are regarded as legitimate. There is, however, the potential to improve female engagement if we can gain knowledge about what girls do during lessons and how they think about themselves when learning technology. Therefore, the aim of this study is to examine the self-image of girls aged 9 to 12 when participating in primary technology education, by using Harding’s (1986) three gender levels: the symbolic, the structural and the individual. The methods used for this study were participant observations during technology classes followed by a focus group interview. From the perspective of Harding’s three levels of gender, the analysis of the observations and the focus group interview reveals that girls confirm the prevailing male norms and conceptions that are linked to what technology is and what it means “to be technical”, despite the fact that the teacher introduces gender-neutral activities. However, there is an ambiguity in our findings because the girls also resist the self-image of not being technical, especially when they work together and have ownership of their work with and learning about technology.

Keywords
Primary education, technology education, girls’ self-image, gender, focus group interview, observations
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-167463 (URN)
Available from: 2020-07-07 Created: 2020-07-07 Last updated: 2024-03-07
Sultan, U., Axell, C. & Hallström, J. (2019). Girls’ engagement with technology education: A scoping review of the literature. Design and Technology Education: An International Journal, 24(2), 20-41
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Girls’ engagement with technology education: A scoping review of the literature
2019 (English)In: Design and Technology Education: An International Journal, ISSN 1360-1431, E-ISSN 2040-8633, Vol. 24, no 2, p. 20-41Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to review internationally published scientific literature on the subject of girls’ engagement in technology education, in order to identify the most common descriptions of girls’ engagement with technology education, girls’ technological activities, and the relationship between girls and technology. After a scoping review of the literature, 20 relevant articles were identified and included in the study; they were analysed using content analysis. The results show that, according to the reviewed studies, girls are less interested in and have less positive attitudes towards technology (education) than boys. They are also less likely to choose a technology- or STEM-oriented occupa-tion. Several of the included studies venture possible explanations as to why this is and refer mainly to cultural factors. Those studies that do define the type of technology used in girls’ activities mostly describe a neutral, or male kind of “nuts and bolts” technology. As regards girls’ relationship to tech-nology, there is potential for improving female engagement using apparently simple means; for ex-ample, making sure the social context of teaching is adapted to girls. The results of the literature review are discussed in terms of their implications for future research and can be used as a guide for educators and researchers in the area. In particular, the reasons for girls’ lower interest in technolo-gy education compared to boys need to be further researched, and it may be that researchers need to study girls in their own right, not in perpetual comparison with boys, in order to come closer to an answer

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wellesbourne, United Kingdom: The Design and Technology Association, 2019
Keywords
girls’ engagement, gender, technology, technology education, scoping review
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-158513 (URN)
Available from: 2019-07-02 Created: 2019-07-02 Last updated: 2024-03-07Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-7374-9659

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