I’ve known for a while what those in secondary and higher education are just now waking up to…that girls rule and boys drool. What I mean is that girls seem more interested in seriously learning something in school at a much higher percentage than boys do. I teach several media classes including Video Tech, Web Design and Desktop Publishing. In those classes the percentage of boys to girls nearly always favors the girls and even when the boys sign up at a higher rate than the boys – they often don’t perform as well.
Boys want to play with computers. while girls want to use them to learn, create or communicate. Girls seem to do better in nearly every area except video. In video, the boys do outperform girls. This seems to mirror several articles and comments about this topic that I have read recently here, here and here.
Sure some of this can be attributed to boys having better visual and spacial skills that help them in the video area. And it can be true that girls excel in writing that you would see in Desktop Publishing and Web Design. But I also see a trend where boys see learning as nerdy and that nerdy equals not cool. Boys who do well in school are shunned by their peers. Girls who are nerdy are seen as cool. Just google the many articles on nerdy-chic. Smart girls are cool. So, girls are going to college in greater numbers than boys. But not in math and sciences. This is the real problem we are facing as a nation. Not enough kids in math, science and engineering. What it really means is boys see these careers as nerdy.
I’ve written before about how hard it is to recruit boys into the media field. It seems it is even harder to recruit them into the sciences, which web design and desktop publishing are a part of (in a way). We need to work harder to encourage boys to take their place with the girls in our classes. We also need to encourage them to go to school (college) and study in areas like math, science and engineering along with media and journalism.
I’m glad girls are interested in media. It is a great thing to see girls move into areas that were formerly boys only. But we need to make sure that boys don’t keep slipping into the abyss of anti-intellectualism, because if they do – then we have failed as educators. We have a mandate to educate all of our students, not just some.