Confidence and laughter for one little girl who just learned how to program a robot. It goes against the long-held stereotype that girls wouldn't be interested in robotics, but a new University of Washington study proves that wrong.
Research from the UW's Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) found when 6-year-old girls participated in a computer-programming activity, they expressed a bigger interest in technology and more positive attitudes about their own skills and abilities than girls who didn't try it.
The study suggests both the need and opportunity for teaching computer science as early as elementary school. Introducing those concepts and skills to young girls can help boost their confidence and spark their interest in technology, a field where women today are underrepresented.
"As a society, we have these built-in beliefs that are pushing boys toward certain activities more than girls. So our thought was, if you give equal experiences to boys and girls, what happens?" Allison Master, a research scientist with I-LABS said. "We found that if you give them access to same opportunities, then girls and boys have the same response — equal interest and confidence."
Read more details of the study in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.