Redefining the Digital Divide: Beyond Access to Computers and the Internet

By Valadez, James R.; Duran, Richard | High School Journal, February-March 2007 | Go to article overview

Redefining the Digital Divide: Beyond Access to Computers and the Internet


Valadez, James R., Duran, Richard, High School Journal


This study critiqued the notion that a binary "digital divide" between high and low resource schools describes accurately the technology disparity in U.S society. In this study, we surveyed teachers from six southern California schools. Five of the schools were low resource schools and one school, chosen for comparative purposes, was characterized as a high resource school. We found that high resource school teachers had significantly more physical access to computers and the Internet (C&I), more frequent use of C&I, more creative uses of C&I for instruction, communicated by email more often with students, and engaged more frequently in professional activities such on on-fine communication with other teachers. The study lent modest support to previous researchers (Natriello, 2001; Warschauer, 2003a, 2003b, 2003c; Wenglinksy, 1998) who claimed that high resource students are more likely to use C&I for more experimental and creative uses than students from low resource schools. In addition the findings contribute to a broader definition of the "digital divide" that includes social consequences including the impact of social networks and wider use of technology to improve instruction.

**********

While the total number of U.S. residents purchasing computers and connecting to the Internet increases daily, large segments of the population are being passed over in the Information Age. In a recent study NTIA (2002) showed that Whites and Asian Americans have higher rates of both computer and Internet use than Blacks and Latinos. NTIA found computer use to be highest for Asian Americans (71.2 percent) and Whites (70.0 percent), followed by Blacks, (55.7) and Latinos (48.8). Regarding Internet use, 60% of Whites and Asian Americans use the Internet compared to Blacks (39.8 percent) and Latinos (31.6 percent) who use the Internet at much lower rates (NTIA, 2002).

U.S. schools mirror the nation's trends in computer ownership and Internet connectivity. By 2002 over 99% of U.S. schools owned computers and had Internet connections (NCES, 2004).

Despite these findings, there is still evidence of an economic and racial divide among school children and their use of computers and the Internet (C&I). To illustrate, the ratio of students to computers in high poverty schools (1) is much higher than it is in more affluent schools. NCES (2003) estimated that in high poverty schools, the student to computer ratio was 5.5 students per instructional computer compared to 4.6 students to a computer in more affluent schools. In addition, use of the Internet by children from the varying social strata differs markedly. Overall Internet use at home and school for Latino and Black children is 47.8% and 52.3% respectively, compared to Asian American (79.4%) and White children (79.7%) who are far more likely to use the Internet (NTIA, 2002).

Becker and his colleagues (1999) pointed out that teachers are more likely to assign C&I work when their students have ready access to computers. They showed that teachers with ratios of four or fewer students to a computer were three times more likely to assign computer work to students than those teachers with less favorable ratios of six or more students to a computer. Given that higher socioeconomic status (SES) schools are more likely to have low student to computer ratios, they provide a distinct advantage over low SES schools in gaining the experience and practice necessary for using the Internet as an educational resource.

It is evident that computer availability and Internet access have improved over the last several years, however the studies cited above concur that the poor and racial minorities are lagging behind society's dominant groups in terms of computer ownership and Internet connectivity. Rapid advancement in computer availability however, has spurred some commentators to proclaim the closing of the "digital divide" (Simons, 2000; Thierer, 2002). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Redefining the Digital Divide: Beyond Access to Computers and the Internet
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.