Technology and Equity in Education
The development and diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICT) is having a profound effect on contemporary education, which adds new elements to the long-standing issue of educational equity. This chapter aims to create a broad picture of the relationship between technology and equity in primary and secondary education by summarizing research literature on Socioeconomic Status (SES), racial/ethnic, and gender differences related to technology. We organize our review around the framework of technology access, use, and outcomes. Regarding access, it is clear that gaps in home and school technology access are narrowing but still persistent across SES and racial/ethnic groups. Regarding usage, youth groups differ in the manners and the extent digital technologies are used at schools and outside of schools. Since there is a wide range of technologies available and groups’ usage pattern varies among forms of technology, it is challenging to summarize a single trend of inequality of technology usage. Regarding outcomes, how the differences in access and usage affect the disparities in outcomes remains inconclusive. The challenge for the reader in consuming studies on outcomes of technology is that what is often reported as a result of using technology may in fact just be that two broad factors – technology and learning – are observed to go together but may not cause one another. The technology use may affect learning, or other factors, such as SES, may shape both learning and technology use.
KeywordsTechnology access Technology usage Achievement gap Twenty-first-century learning skills Educational equity
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