Effective Experiences: A Social Cognitive Analysis of Young Students’ Technology Self-Efficacy and STEM Attitudes

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Effective Experiences: A Social Cognitive Analysis of Young Students’ Technology Self-Efficacy and STEM Attitudes


  • Kuo-Ting Huang Department of Journalism, Ball State University, USA
  • Christopher Ball Department of Journalism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
  • Shelia R. Cotten Department of Media & Information, Michigan State University, USA
  • LaToya O’Neal Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida, USA


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Abstract:  The development of computer skills, as well as computer self-efficacy, has increased in importance along with the role of technology in everyday life. Childhood is a critical time for the development of these skills since early inequalities may substantially impact future life outcomes. In a context of a computing intervention designed to improve digital inclusion, we hypothesize that students’ enactive learning experience (conceptualized as their computer usage) and their vicarious learning experience (conceptualized as their perception of their teacher’s computer usage) are associated with the development of perceived technology efficacy and STEM (Science, Technology, Education, and Math) attitudes. Data are from a sample of elementary school students from an urban school district in the Southeastern United States. The results show that both their direct experiences and their perception of their teacher’s computer usage have strong impacts on students’ technology efficacy and STEM attitudes, and the former is the stronger predictor of the outcomes examined. The findings suggest that programs aiming to improve digital inclusion should emphasize students’ direct learning experience, which would later improve their attitude toward STEM fields.

Keywords:  digital inclusion; enactive experience; learning; perception of teachers; STEM attitudes; students; technology efficacy; vicarious experience

Published:   14 May 2020


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v8i2.2612


© Kuo-Ting Huang, Christopher Ball, Shelia R. Cotten, LaToya O'Neal. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.