Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Dr. James McMillan


The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not having a laptop computer for individual use 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week lessens differences between how eighth grade girls and eighth grade boys in 10 middle schools in HenricoCounty, Virginia perceive computer use and computer technology. Having a laptop computer to use at any time of the day or night eliminates the issue of competition between boys and girls for computer use. It also eliminates the need for either girls or boys to perform in front of other students while learning, thus lessening to some degree, feelings of computer anxiety. Competition for computer access and computer anxiety are two theories that have been offered to explain why many young women in previous studies have chosen not to use computers to the same extent that young men do, as well as why many young women generally do not consider computer-related careers as career options in their futures. A modified Computer Attitude Questionnaire, based upon the CAQ, Version 5.14 was used to survey eighth grade girls and boys in 10 Henrico County middle schools. Data collected from the surveys were analyzed using the statistical package, SPSS 14 for Windows. Comparisons were based on gender and on the self-reported race/ethnicity of the participants. A comparison of attitudes related to the number of computers already in the home in addition to the school-issued laptop was also conducted. A variety of statistical analyses were used in order to determine differences in attitudes between the boys and girls surveyed and the interactions between the attitudes of the respondents and their race/ethnicity. This was a non-experimental, quantitative, comparative research study.


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Date of Submission

June 2008

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