Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Ann D. Thompson

Second Advisor

Camilla Persson Benbow


While complex problem solving has been traditionally an area in which females have not excelled, there is increased emphasis in the development of problem solving for all learners in the Information Age. Concern exists regarding the gap between male and female competencies in using computer technology. Therefore, the possibility of intervention using computer technology as a tool for learning holds promise for females to develop competencies necessary to become better problem solvers. Interventions assisting female students in using technology to restructure or alter their conceptions of problem solving may prove to be effective in developing of problem-solving skills and computer use strategies. In a series of three articles designed to institute new junctures for females to use computer technology for problem-solving, this research suggests constructivist learning environments invite effective use of technology. The first paper chronicles existing computer technologies in American education making the case that invention, policy-making, and administration of educational leadership were provided predominantly by men in government, military, and higher education. This study explores the development of technology in school practice and the lack of women influencing these changes. The second paper, a concise literature review of problem solving, describes theoretical implications of problem solving with attention to learning environments where educational computing using multimedia technology is used to develop problem-solving skills. Impact of student motivation, attribution, self-efficacy, and self-regulation on problem-solving is amplified through the voice of gifted adolescents. The third paper, the result of a research study of gifted adolescent students using multimedia technology, advances the importance of females using computers for problem solving activity. Moreover, this paper describes an "engendered" adolescent computer culture limiting full participation of females in computer-related experiences. Appendices contain relevant research materials plus an accompanying CD-ROM containing individual and focus group interviews, e-mail communications, and evaluations of student work.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Sally Rapp Beisser



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

256 pages