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Gender, Interest, and Prior Experience Shape Opportunities to Learn Programming in Robotics Competitions

Abstract

"While there are currently measurable differences in participation by gender in the STEM fields, growing evidence suggests that a number of external factors influencing girls' opportunities to learn and participate in STEM activities may predict continued involvement in fields like CS and robotics. Our study suggests that ensuring greater levels of involvement in programming within robotics competitions, particularly for females, may lead to increases in those students' motivation to pursue additional opportunities to learn programming. However, follow-up studies with a team-level analysis will help to illuminate whether individual interest and choice of activity or the particular organization of teams within different competitions are the main factors driving the different levels of programming involvement observed for males and females."

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