ASQ - Education Division

The Effects of Technology-Based Activities on STEM Major Choices

Abstract: This paper is authored by Ahlam Lee, PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Graduate School of Education at U. of Pennsylvania.

This study examined the extent to which technology-based activities, inside and outside of the classroom, affect students’ STEM major choices in two and four-year colleges based on the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002, considering the well-known learning predictors for STEM major choices (i.e., math achievement scores, math self-efficacy, and taking advanced math courses) and students social economic status and gender. The major findings were as follows: using logistic regression analysis, (a) students who have a high tendency of using computer and video game activities for their leisure activities are more likely to choose STEM majors in four-year colleges; (b) female students who frequently play video games and computers for leisure activities are more likely to enroll STEM majors in 4-year colleges; and (c) chi-square analysis showed that female students are substantially less inclined to play video games and computers compared to male students. The results of this study suggest that educators and policy makers should consider adopting technology-based learning environments that are relevant to the nature of STEM occupations, inside and outside of the classroom, to inspire more students to pursue STEM careers and help students become proficient at technological skills and knowledge that is demanded in the global economy.

Keywords: STEM - Higher Education Brief - Technology

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