December 5, 2002
Females and technology
There are two intriguing articles in the BBC Tech section regarding females and technology. One covering Women as Africa's new tech warriors and another looking at children learning technology from building Lego robots. The second article brought out a particularly interesting point, in that girls tend to build the robots in a social manner and tend to script a story to build around, while the male groups had one lead that moved the tasks forward. I tend to think the girls approach is slightly better, in that it involves thinking through scenarios, which is a large part of what IAs, interaction designers, and user-centered designers do. It is along the lines of the measure twice, cut once approach. The article on Africa was intriguing to me seeing the gender stereotyping spanning continents. There are few things that I believe are out of reach from anybody learning (this could be my American can do enculturation), but getting over stereotypes and learning how people learn best and work best is very important.