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ICT, learning and the potential of androgynity

Publiceringsår: 2007
Språk: Engelska
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Synopsis for Utvecklingskonferens LU: Att tänka om – ett kvalificerat akademiskt lärarskap, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
Dokumenttyp: Konferensbidrag
Förlag: Utvecklingskonferens LU (Lund University)


Baylor and collaborators have demonstrated (Baylor & Plant, 2005; Baylor et. al., 2006) that the use of virtual pedagogical coaches portrayed as young and attractive women can increase the willingness of female students to apply for technical education and to help increase their selfefficacy. Pedagogical processes such as role modelling and identification seem to be involved (cf. Bandura, 1977; Bandura et al., 1981).

However, when analysing Baylor et al.’s results in detail, it appears that the increase in selfefficacy partly stems from a general conception of female engineers as less competent than male: “If she can do it, then I can do it”. This implies a potential conflict between a short-term pedagogical goal as to recruitment and boosted self-efficacy in students, and a long-term pedagogical goal regarding a desired change of gender prejudices and stereotypes.

In an ongoing project (“Challenging Gender Stereotypes – using Virtual Pedagogical Agents”) we explore the possibilities to use androgynous virtual coaches for recruitment purposes, with a focus on students applying for educations with clear male or female dominance (and thus associated with gendered stereotypes). By June this year we expect to have results from an empirical study with about 100 participants, with qualitative as well as quantitative data. It is this study that we would like to present and discuss at the conference.

Furthermore we wish to address and problematize broader issues on gender stereotypes and gender representation in the pedagogical use of digital media (and related issues regarding class, ethnicity, etc.). In our view, potentials, pitfalls as well as responsibilities accompany the increased degrees of freedom of representations in digital media, and we want to discuss how decisions regarding whose voice and whose appearance shall be exposed (in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, class, regional subgroup, etc.) can be made.


”Challenging Gender Stereotypes – using Virtual Pedagogical Agents”;

Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory, Prentice Hall.

Bandura, A., & Schunk D. H. (1981). Cultivating competence, self-efficacy, and intrinsic interest throught proximal self-motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 41(3), 586-598.

Baylor, A. & Plant, E. (2005) Pedagogical agents as social models for engineering: The influence of appearance on female choice. Proceedings of AI-ED (Artificial Intelligence in Education), Amsterdam.

Baylor, A., Rosenberg-Kima, R.., & Plant, E. (2006). Interface Agents as Social Models: The Impact of Appearance on Females’ Attitude Toward Engineering. CHI 2006 (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems). Montreal, Canada.

Gulz, A. & Haake, M. (2006) Pedagogical agents – design guide lines regarding visual appearance and pedagogical roles. IV International Conference on Multimedia and ICT in Education (M-ICTE2006), Sevilla, 2006.

Gulz, A., Ahlnèr, F., & Haake, M. (submitted) Visual femininity and masculinity in synthetic characters & patterns of affect (submitted).

Haake, M. & Gulz, A. (2007) Virtual Pedagogical Agents: Stylisation for Engagement. Interfaces Magazine 70, Spring 2007 (in press).

Haake, M. & Gulz, A. (submitted): Aesthetic stereotypes and virtual pedagogical agents.


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