“ We don’t go on the computers anymore” - How Urban Children Lose-out in Learning the New Digital Literacies
Kathleen Gormley, Ph.D., The Sage Colleges
Peter McDermott, Ph.D., The Sage Colleges
Achievement gap between urban and suburban schools.
Urban schools frequently under threat of review and closure.
Literacy education is often at the center of the problem - achievement gap.
Connection between literacy and technology is increasingly important
New digital literacies
Information and communicative technologies
Video and audio production
Children are disadvantaged when
Schools do not provide access to new literacies
Teachers do not model the use of the new literacies
What do 4 th and 5 th grade children know about the digital literacies?
How do urban and suburban children in 4 th and 5 th grades compare and contrast in their knowledge and skills with the digital literacies?
Two data sources: qualitative and quantitative
Six-opened ended questions of children
Written narratives that integrate info from interviews and observations
Do you have a computer at home? How often do you use it?
Where is the computer?
Do you have supervision when using it? How are you supervised?
What do you like to do on the computer?
How do you use the computer at school?
How often do you use the computer at school?
Sample narrative (page 8 of paper):
Ryan typed with one finger on each hand and maintained eye contact with the keyboard, largely ignoring the print on the monitor. He needed help opening Word, but he quickly showed he could use the keyboard and type his name, add space between first and last name, shift for capitals, and insert punctuation. With a little help he managed to change color, size and font. He did not know how to add borders, tables or page numbers and it was clear he was never shown how to do that. He loved baseball and he wanted to search the following question: “Did Babe Ruth take steroids?” He typed the question into the Google window and selected the site that “looks like it has it (answer).” He said he loves soccer and has been trying to get his family to take him to Florida to see a soccer game (minor league). He has a laptop and Internet at home. He uses the laptop everyday after school and uses it when he is “bored.” He uses the laptop in his bedroom or in the living room. He said his parents supervised him with the laptop. His favorite site is to go to his father’s Facebook page and play games that are associated with it. Another favorite site is Doppler.com and he watches YouTube in his room. He said, “I’d rather learn different things on the computer. We have VlVO in school and code99.” He said he goes to the learning center every Thursday “to learn and play games.”
Quantitative - Likert Scale
Word-processing: keyboarding, formatting
Internet search: search engines, site appropriateness, bookmarking, url
Presentation software: layout, formatting, slide show
Setting and Participants
Four low income urban schools
One middle income suburban school
4th and 5th graders
Results - Quantitative
Results Qualitative results - urban
Almost all urban children typed with one finger from each hand
Difficulty formatting Word documents
Few knew presentation software
Reported only occasional use of computers in school - little integration of tech into curricula
Interne t at home
Practice math, complete sample question items for the state reading exams and playing games
Qualitative - suburban
Learned keyboarding in 3rd grade
Full-time librarian/media specialist
Smart boards in most classrooms
Technology at home and adult modeling
Little change in urban teaching methods despite new technologies
What urban children learn about the new literacies occurs outside of school.
Pressure to teach to the test
Suburban children have greater access to new literacies at both home and school
Suburban children advanced in use of digital literacies
Technology integration occurred in this suburban school.
Suburban children are greatly advantaged in their learning of the digital literacies - cultural capital.
Urban schools face testing pressures that encourage test-preparation rather than new literacies.
Almost all the children, urban and suburban, had Internet access at home (90%).
Few urban children knew how to keyboard with all fingers.