Meeting Gender Gaps in Information and Communication Technology (ICT): How Can Creativity Make a Difference?

Meeting Gender Gaps in Information and Communication Technology (ICT): How Can Creativity Make a Difference?

Chunfang Zhou (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7068-4.ch011


This chapter will bridge theories such as ICT, creativity, learning, and gender in one framework, and particularly focuses on how to meet gender gaps in learning contexts by using ICT and the strategies of developing gender sensitive creativity training programs in developing contexts. In this sense, this chapter contributes to imply both how to encourage more women users and how women can better use ICT for developing contexts in the changes towards creative society. Accordingly, a review on developing ICT-supported educational programs in diverse contexts around the world will be firstly made, which highlights the strategy of learning though ICT is not a new initiative; however, why gender gaps in using ICT are still key issues? This drives this chapter to further discuss gender gaps in developing creativity by ICT from a psychological perspective. Finally, a series of strategies of developing gender sensitive creativity training programs will be discussed in order to facilitate the changes towards a creative society.
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The rapid development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the 21st century is demanding swift action to engage learners to participate in the mainstream of development. ICT encompasses a vast array of technologies that facilitate production, handling and processing of information, as well as technologies that enable the transfer and exchange of information and communication (Zhou, 2016). It has a broad scope of diverse technologies, including radio, television, as well as newer digital technologies such as computers and the Internet (Tinio, 2003). Because of these multiple powers of processing and networking of information, ICTs have brought about a global socioeconomic paradigm shift which was not the case with earlier technologies such as radio and television (UNESCO, 2011). Now, access to ICT is considered necessary and fundamental for the socioeconomic development of a society (Zhou, 2016).

The resent research also shows that digital technologies have great potential to develop creativity (Loveless, 2007; Zhou, Chen, & Luo, 2013). Creativity in general has been understood as the generation of new and useful ideas (Amabile, 1996). A useful theoretical framework for recognizing and developing creativity can be described as an interaction between characteristics in people and communities, creative process, subject domains and wider social and cultural contexts. Thus, the affordances of ICT can also be part of this creative interaction as people exploit the distinctive features of ICT that enable digital technologies to act as tools in creative processes (Lovelss, Burton, & Turvey, 2006; Zhou, 2016). Meanwhile, the technological skills are important not only for children at schools but also for lifelong learning. The different levels of interaction and collaboration characteristics of new technologies facilitate personalization of learning paths. Learners become active stakeholders, who are empowered to shape their own learning spaces and resources and collaborative learning processes (Kampylis, Bocconi, & Punie, 2012; Zhou, 2016).

However, the integration of ICT in all aspects of life is recognized as a developed country. The birth and the growth of the Internet were in the United Sates, and this has led, in part, to large distortions in connectivity between the developed and developing nations. But the economics remains the obvious overarching reason for the continuation of the divide (ICT global). Thus, it requires more attention on issues of ICT should be paid to the developing contexts. For example, in relation to the discussion on learners’ ICT literacy in Malaysia, Daud and Zakaria (2012) argued that Web 2.0 is an innovation in the application of Internet technology that enables users to be more creative, more involved, and easy to relate to each other. Furthermore, the country’s education system should be able to provide the younger generation, who are able to face the possibilities for people facing the industry, global economic fluctuations, the influx of new technologies, the use of computers as a daily business need, and the wealth of information worldwide.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Creativity: Generally, creativity involves the ability to offer new perspectives, generate novel and meaningful ideas, raise new questions, and come up with solutions to ill-defined problems. It has been demonstrated multiple manifestations of the conceptualization: personal cognitive and social or emotional processes, family aspects, education, characteristics of the domain and fields, social or cultural contextual aspects, as well as historical forces, event, and trends.

Information Communication Technology (ICT): ICT are a set of tools those include computer, internet, mobile phones, and diverse communication devices that contributes to education system and social learning system.

Learning: Learning is the act of gaining new knowledge, behaviors, skills, or ability. It may be regarded as a process, rather than a collection of factual and procedural knowledge. Human learning may occur as part of education, professional development, or training.

Creative Society: In the 1980s, information was the new king, which indicated that natural resources and manufacturing would no longer be the driving forces of economies and societies. It was in this period that we witnessed a transition from the “industrial society” to “information society.” In the 1990s, the “knowledge society” was labeled as the characteristic of this society. People realized that information itself would not bring about any important change. Rather, it was the way in which people transformed information into knowledge and managed that knowledge, which would hold the key to this change. However, the “creative society” is an improvement upon the shift in the focus from “information” to “knowledge.” It means that in future, our success will be based not on how much we know, but on our ability to think and act creatively.

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