Educational Technology and Equity: Students Access To and Use of Computers in Low- and Middle-Socioeconomic Schools

By Tanja Lee and Stephen Rice.

Published by The International Journal of Technologies in Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 20, 2014 $US5.00

Although there has been an increase in students’ physical access to computers, many students from low-SES backgrounds are not experiencing the use of information communication technologies (ICT) as an academic and social resource to obtain an equitable education. This study investigated how ICT was implemented into students learning processes by different groups of teachers working within selected public schools in Northern California. The question asked is “What impact does a school’s socioeconomic status (SES) have on students’ accessibility to and use of ICT?" Information was collected from teachers who completed an online survey regarding their students’ use of technology. The survey was used to gather information about the accessibility of classroom computers and patterns in students’ use of ICT. The findings from this study indicate that students from low-SES backgrounds use ICT differently than students from more affluent SES. Students attending low-SES schools did not use computers regularily and these students were given limited opportunities to use ICT to engage in student-centered critical thinking learning activities. It is recommended that school districts set specifications that describe what the implementation of technology should entail. A clear depiction for the regularity of computer use and ICT objectives should be established. The results of this study may provide an indication as to what can be done to improve students’ right to an equitable technology-based education.

Keywords: Education, Technology, SES, Information Communication Technologies

International Journal of Technologies in Learning, Volume 20, Issue 3, May 2014, pp.43-60. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 20, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 565.542KB)).

Tanja Lee

PhD Candidate, Psychology, Walden University, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Tanja Lee is ABD at Walden University. Her dissertation research involves the study of technologies in the classroom and how socio-economic status affects the use of information communication technologies.

Dr. Stephen Rice

Associate Professor, College of Aeronautics, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL, USA

Dr. Rice is an associate professor at Florida Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in Human Factors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006. His research interests include aviation psychology, automation, trust, stigmas, and human performance.