Are they tech-savvy?: Understanding technology self-efficacy of apparel female freshmen

McKinney, Ellen
McKinney, Ellen
Baytar, Fatma
Karpova, Elena
Stanley, Elisha
Karpova, Elena
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Apparel graduates face ever-increasing expectations for using and adopting new technology (Romeo & Lee, 2013). In addition to being proficient with constantly developing ways of digital communication, analyzing, storing, and sharing data, successful apparel professionals must master various specialized soft- and hardware such as virtual retailing, product lifecycle management, computer-aided design, digital printing, and emerging 3D technologies. To address challenges of the fast-paced and highly competitive industry, preparing technologically-savvy apparel graduates becomes one of the priorities (Romeo & Lee, 2013). Ninety-five percent of students completing a bachelor's degree in apparel and textiles (CIP Code: 19.09) are female (National Center for Education Statistics, 2017). The purpose of this study was to understand why some young females are comfortable adopting and using technology, whereas others are not. Our findings indicate that participants' personal differences set them apart in terms technology self-efficacy. The results of the study can help apparel and textiles educators understand barriers to successful technology adoption among young females and might be useful for developing learning and teaching strategies, particularly, for women with low technology self-efficacy. These solutions would likely assist in counteracting technology-related anxiety, building greater confidence in female students, and enabling them to learn ever-changing fashion industry technology.