Surprising Possibilities Imagined and Realized through Information Technology: Encouraging High School Girls’ Interests in Information Technology

  • Anna Forssen
  • Tonya Lauriski-Karriker
  • Alka Harriger
  • Barbara Moskal
Keywords: information technology, gender gap


The Surprising Possibilities Imagined and Realized through Information Technology (SPIRIT) is a three year project designed to increase high school students interests in and their desire to pursue IT careers. This paper examines the results of the project during its second year of implementation. A primary target population for this investigation is female high school students; their male counterparts are included here as a comparison group. Through a summer program, high school teachers, counselors and students were provided with instruction that included professional presentations from the IT community and an overview of the Alice software. Overall, participating students experienced a significant increase from pre to post assessment in their attitudes with respect to IT. No significant change was found for teachers and counselors. While participation in this program had a positive impact on the attitudes of female students with respect to IT, no such change was statistically detected for the other subgroups.