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Technology in schools:A descriptive study of computer usage in a school and its effect on bridging the digital divide

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  • 1. Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology TECHNOLOGY IN SCHOOLS: A DESCRIPTIVE STUDY OF COMPUTER USAGE IN A SCHOOL AND ITS EFFECT ON BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE A dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction Of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership By Sharon Valear Williams Robinson December, 2005 Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 2. UMI Number: 3213231 Copyright 2005 by Robinson, Sharon Valear Williams All rights reserved. INFORMATION TO USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. Broken or indistinct print, colored or poor quality illustrations and photographs, print bleed-through, substandard margins, and improper alignment can adversely affect reproduction. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if unauthorized copyright material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion. ® UMI UMI Microform 3213231 Copyright 2006 by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved. This microform edition is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code. ProQuest Information and Learning Company 300 North Zeeb Road P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 48106-1346 Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 3. This dissertation written by Sharon Valear Williams Robinson under the guidance of a Faculty committee and approved by its members, has been submitted to and accepted by the Graduate Faculty in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of DOCTOR OF EDUCATION September 29, 2004 Faculty Committee Lind^Xj. Polm, Ph.D., Chairperson F. McManus, Ph.D. lings, Ed.D.Terrence R. Chester H. McCall, Ph.D. Associate Dean Margaret'J. WebeffPh.D. Dean Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 4. Copyright by Sharon Valear Williams Robinson December, 2005 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 5. IV TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES............................................................................................................ vii LIST OF FIGURES...........................................................................................................viii DEDICATION.................................................................................................................. ix ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS..............................................................................................x VITA..................................................................................................................................xi ABSTRACT.......................................................................................................................xii CHAPTER 1: THE PROBLEM OF EQUITY...............................................................1 Introduction........................................................................................................................1 Background........................................................................................................................1 Technology, Access and School Reform.................................................................. 3 Statement of the Problem.................................................................................................8 Study Purpose................................................................................................................... 9 Research Questions...........................................................................................................10 Significance of the Study..................................................................................................10 Assumptions.......................................................................................................................11 Limitations.........................................................................................................................11 Definition of Terms...........................................................................................................12 Digital Divide....................................................................................................... 12 High technological school....................................................................................12 Internet.................................................................................................................. 12 Technology Literacy............................................................................................ 12 Access................................................................................................................... 12 Accessibility......................................................................................................... 12 Telecommunications............................................................................................ 12 Universal Service..................................................................................................12 E-Rate................................................................................................................... 12 Organization of the Dissertation............................................................................... 13 Summary............................................................................................................................13 CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE........................................................ 15 Introduction........................................................................................................................15 The E-Rate as a Response to the Digital Divide in U.S. Public Schools...............16 Closer Look at the Digital Divide.............................................................................19 Falling Through the Net Reports...............................................................................20 The Growth of Technology in US Public Schools......................................................... 27 The Main Fault-Lines of the Digital Divide...................................................................29 The Digital Divide in American Public Schools.............................................................38 Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 6. V Studies Concerning the Digital Divide in American Public Schools.............................49 The Consequences of the Digital Divide in American Public Schools..........................55 Government Policy Responses to the Digital Divide in American Public Schools 59 Summary.............................................................................................................................61 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY..................................................................................63 Purpose of the Study........................................................................................................63 Research Design............................................................................................................... 65 Instruments for Data Collection...................................................................................... 66 Focus Group............................................................................................................... 66 Pilot Testing of Student Survey................................................................................67 Internet Student Technology Survey........................................................................68 Interview Protocol..................................................................................................... 70 Classroom Observation Checklist............................................................................ 71 Student Interviews..................................................................................................... 72 School Case......................................................................................................................72 Student Sample................................................................................................................ 75 Sources of Data and Instruments for Data Collection................................................... 75 Data Collection Procedures.............................................................................................77 Source of Data.................................................................................................................. 79 Document Analysis...................................................................................................80 Validity of Instruments.................................................................................................... 80 Reliability of Instruments................................................................................................82 Human Subjects Considerations.....................................................................................82 Procedures for Data Analysis......................................................................................... 83 Summary...........................................................................................................................84 CHAPTER 4: RESULTS OF THE STUDY................................................................. 85 Introduction.......................................................................................................................85 Research Questions..........................................................................................................85 Demographics: Survey Results................................................................................ 87 Student Access to Computers: Survey Results....................................................... 88 Types of Computer Activities: Survey Results....................................................... 93 Observations and Student Interviews.......................................................................103 Comparison to National Data....................................................................................107 Summary...........................................................................................................................118 CHAPTER 5: SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS 119 Introduction...................................................................................................................... 119 Limitations of the Study..................................................................................................120 Research Question 1: Which Students at this School Use Computers and the Internet?.............................................................................121 Review of Findings............................................................................................. 121 Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 7. vi Conclusion 1.......................................................................................................... 122 Conclusion 2.......................................................................................................... 123 Research Question 2: Where do the Students Use Computers and the Internet? .. 123 Review of Findings............................................................................................... 123 Conclusion 1 ......................................................................................................... 124 Conclusion 2.......................................................................................................... 124 Research Question 3: In What Kind of Computer Activities do these Students Engage?....................................................................................................................... 124 Review of Findings................................................................................................124 Conclusion 1.......................................................................................................... 127 Conclusion 2.......................................................................................................... 127 Research Question 4: Is computer Use by Students related to Demographic Characteristics such as Race/Ethnicity, Gender or other Factors?...........................127 Review of Findings................................................................................................127 Conclusion 1.......................................................................................................... 128 Conclusion 2.......................................................................................................... 129 Summary.............................................................................................................................129 Recommendations .............................................................................................................130 Recommendations for Further Research..........................................................................131 Final Thoughts...................................................................................................................133 References...........................................................................................................................135 Appendix A: Standard Student Workstation Software...................................................143 Appendix B: Tenets of the School................................................................................... 145 Appendix C: Focus Group.................................................................................................146 Appendix D: Student’s Technology Survey.................................................................... 147 Appendix E: Teacher, Parent, and StaffInterview Guide.............................................. 154 Appendix F: Classroom Observation of Students Using Technology...........................155 Appendix G: Student Interview Guide.............................................................................156 Appendix H: Letter to the principal of the School.......................................................... 157 Appendix I: Email to the middle school teachers and Instructions for the Internet Student Survey.....................................................................................................159 Appendix J: Article for the School’s Newsletter.............................................................160 Appendix K: Permission/Release Form...........................................................................161 Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 8. L IS T O F T A B L E S v ii Table Page 1 Data Analysis Chart..................................................................................................76 2 Demographics, Question 29, Grade......................................................................... 87 3 Demographics, Question 30, Ethnicity.....................................................................87 4 Demographics, Question 31, Gender........................................................................ 88 5 Demographics, Question 34, Years Attended this School...................................... 88 6 Location of Computer Use, Questions 4 and 5 ...................................................... 89 7 Types of Technology Resources Available to Students at School, Question 7 ....90 8 Types of Technology Resources Available to Students at Home, Question 8 .....91 9 Access to the Internet, Questions 9 and 10............................................................. 92 10 Frequency with Which Students Check Email, Questions 11 and 12.................... 93 11 Frequency with Which Students Browse the Web, Questions 13 and 14..............94 12 Frequency with Which Students use Chat Rooms or Newsgroups, Questions 15 and 16...................................................................................................95 13 Usefulness of Different Programs, Question 2 0 .....................................................96 14 Number of Times per Week Software is Used at School, Question 2 2 ................98 15 Number of Times per Week Software is Used at Home, Question 23..................100 16 Frequency and Methods with which Technology is Used for School Preparation, Question 24............................................................................................102 17 Classroom Observation of Students Using Technology.........................................104 Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 9. LIST OF FIGURES Figure Page 1 Access to the Internet at Home by Income.............................................................. 20 2 Electronic Access Penetration Rate in US Households...........................................22 3 Access to the Internet by Gender............................................................................30 4 Students Who Use the Internet at School by Income............................................ 33 5 Students in Public Schools with Internet Access at Home by Income................. 34 6 Students Who Use the Internet Once a Week at School by Race.........................35 7 Access to the Internet at Home by Race...................................................................36 8 Graphic Organization of Mixed Model/Design........................................................64 9 All Students Access to Computers and the Internet..................................................108 10 Location of Computer Use at Home......................................................................... 109 11 Location of Computer Use at School....................................................................... 110 12 Location of Computer Use at Community Center...................................................110 13 Location of Computer Use at Library....................................................................... I ll 14 Access to the Internet at Home.................................................................................112 15 Access to the Internet at School................................................................................113 16 Access to Email at Home...........................................................................................114 17 Access to Email at School.........................................................................................114 18 Use of Word Processing at Home..............................................................................115 19 Use of Graphics Software at Home............................................................................116 20 Use of Spreadsheet Software at Home.......................................................................116 21 All Students Access to Computers by Gender......................................................... 117 22 All Students Access to the Internet by Gender........................................................ 117 Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 10. DEDICATION This work is dedicated to the memory of my mother Valear Williams Who let me live life with a strong sense of self and social consciousness And to my husband James Russell Robinson My heart, my inspiration, my gift, who always provides unconditional love and Support Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 11. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I thank My best friend and anchor, Barbara Solomon, who always knew I should and could, do it. My father, Clifford Williams, who kept the family traditions alive after my mother’s death. My son, Trenton Russell Robinson, who helped me deal with each challenge as part of the struggle to make a difference. He made me practice what I preached! My colleagues, Kip, Chaka, Debbie, Mary-Ann, and Bruce (deceased) who kept me focused by Tisten(ing) for the sound of the genuine within themselves and others.’ My dissertation chair, Linda Polin, whose frequent e-mails reminded me of what I really needed to do. And, All the public school students and teachers that have touched my life over the years...1 hope I have touched yours. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 12. xi Experience Education Credentials Community Service VITA Sharon Valear Williams Robinson August, 2003 - Present LAUSD, Los Angeles, CA Superintendent, Local Region G December 2002 - August, 2003 LAUSD, Los Angeles, CA Special Assistant to the Superintendent June, 1999 - December, 2002 eEduTech, LLC - An educational consulting firm Principal Consultant 1999-2000 Xerox-LAUSD Electronic Instructional Materials (EIM) Project Educational Consultant 1997-1999 The Rice School/La Escuela Rice HISD, Houston, TX Principal 1994-1997 State of California Sacramento, CA Commissioner, Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission 1992-1997 Brentwood Science Magnet and Hyde Park Blvd. Learn Schools, LAUSD. Los Angeles, CA Principal 1989- 1992 Division of School-Based Management, LAUSD, Los Angeles, CA Administrative Consultant 1985- 1989 Region B, LAUSD, Los Angeles, CA Coordinator, Dropout Prevention/Opportunity Program 1971 - 1985 Los Angeles Unified School District. Los Angeles, CA Senior School Psychologist/School Psychologist; Teacher, K - 6 California State University at Long Beach M.A., Educational Psychology Pepperdine University B.A., Psychology California: Administrative, K - 12 Public Personnel Service, Psychology, K - 12 Standard Teaching, K - 9 Reading Specialist Texas: Administrative, K - 12 Member, Advisory Board, The Children’s Museum of Houston, 1998-2064 Vice President, Board of Directors. Girls Club of Los Angeles Member, Advisory Board. Dr. Ronald E. McNair Educational Science Literacy Foundation, 2001 -2604 Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 13. xii Abstract The purpose of this research was to examine and to explore student access to and use of technology and the role schools can play in bridging the Digital Divide. Data for this research were collected from a student survey and interviews with students, staff, parents, and classroom observations of students using computers at one highly technological school. Both quantitative and qualitative methodologies were used to triangulate data collection from multiple sources to support the conclusions made, which included: ■ All students at this school, regardless of ethnicity, participated in the direct use of computers and the Internet at school. ■ All students displayed similar patterns in computer usage at home, school, community centers, and libraries. ■ Significant data were provided to support that Internet access and computer access was available to all students at this school but the same level of access was not available in the home. ■ Accessibility at the home was lower when the student was African American or Hispanic than when the student was Caucasian. ■ Much less of a disparity was present when comparing these students’ access to computers at this school and at home than that provided through national reports. ■ This school had a ratio of 1 computer for every student thereby provided an extraordinarily ability to have all students participate in the use of technology. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 14. xiii ■ Overall, most of the students displayed similar distributions of software usage at school across all ethnicities. ■ Students expressed that their parents had selected this school because of the opportunity to utilize technology regularly at school. The study overall supports the major role that schools can play in narrowing the Digital Divide, but there are some critical factors that must be in place for this to happen. At the top of the list is equal access to technology and the Internet by all students. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 15. 1 Chapter 1 The Problem of Equity Introduction As information technology becomes more Important for economic success and societal Well-being, the possibility of “information Apartheid” becomes increasingly real. Such A “digital divide” may mean that for many Children N-Gen means Not-Generation. Don Tapscott, 1998, Growing Up Digital, (p. 11) Background The struggle within this nation to provide educational equity for all students began, at least publicly, with the Brown v. the 1954 Board of Education decision of more than 50 years ago. In this decision, the Supreme Court ruled that separate but equal was inherently unequal (Coleman, 1966, p. 3). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 reaffirmed that “All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation” In 21st Century America, this reaffirmation means having access to equitable educational resources in schools. In The Work o fNations, Reich (1992) addressed the need for early intervention preschool programs, excellent public schools in every city and region, and ample financial help to ensure, regardless of family income or race, that every person who wants to attend college can attend (p. 246-7). It is the investigator’s beliefthat, to the extent that technology is a crucial school resource and an expectation in any public school, it must be guaranteed for every public school. Technology in public schools is part of accomplishing this reaffirmation expressed in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 16. 2 Technology use in instructional practice provides school reform efforts with important and significant tools to improve student performance. Evidence of the importance of technology comes from several sources. “One good decision...was to link technology with school reform. You started teaching using multiple learning styles, a democratic structure, integrated curricula, and decentralized learning” (Thornburg (1995), p.15). “Computers are part of an overall strategy designed to help facilitate change and help create dynamic learning environments where students help construct knowledge” (Gooden, 1996, p. 156). Unfortunately, technology and equitable access are not equitably distributed across American schools. That is, “Inequity of access to technology resources, including computer networks, simply mirrors the unequal distribution of every other human and material resource in public education...” (Cummins & Sayers, 1997, p. 17). Similar to economic inequities in American society, technology inequities exist across American schools. ‘The indicators show that there is a direct correlation between the economic status of a public school and the amount of computer technology and support in that school” (Bolt & Crawford, 2000, p. 31). Schools with students at higher socioeconomic status levels tend to provide access to more and to better technology than do those with students at lower socioeconomic status levels. Tapscott (1998) reported, “Access to the Internet from school, like Internet access from home, is both enabled and limited by one factor: family income” (p. 260). Technology has become a necessary tool and skill for competing in the American and in the global economy (Tapscott, 1998, p. 3). According to Bolt and Crawford (2000), “Education and employment have become more intimately entwined than ever before and access to technology is not only necessary to round out a student’s education, Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 17. 3 but is also crucial in making that student eligible for future employment” (p. 54). “Inadequate access to technology not only makes it difficult for young people to find and keep a decent job, it also prevents them from participating completely in the economic and civic issues of the county and world” (McGee Banks as cited in Milone & Salpeter, 1996, p. 39). Technology is one of the primary means for people to acquire and to share information. Consequently, the ability of students to use technology is not a relatively unimportant skill, but rather an indispensable skill. Evidence of the indispensable nature of technological skills is apparent in a decade-old government report: “Nobody today can avoid technology; it has penetrated every aspect of life from the home to the job. Those unable to use it face a lifetime of menial work” (The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills [SCANS], United States Department of Labor, 1991, p. 28). The National Task Force on Educational Technology ([NTFET], 1986) reported that computer technology tools would be vital in “improving quality of learning, increasing equity of opportunity, access and quality, and ensuring greater cost effectiveness” (p. 58). Thus one critical issue inherent in school reform efforts is the extent to which equal access to technology will be provided to all students. William Kennard, Chairman ofthe Federal Communications Commission, said it best when he stated, “I believe that ensuring that all Americans have access to technology is the civil rights challenge of this new millennium” (2000, p. 4). Technology, Access, and School Reform Beginning with the publication ofA Nation at Risk (National Commission on Excellence in Education, United States Department of Education [USDE], 1983) America has engaged in numerous school reform efforts to improve student performance. Under Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 18. 4 the rubric of school reform, many change efforts were introduced into public schools in an attempt to restructure American education: standard-based instruction, back-to-basic curriculum, bilingual programs, school-based management, decentralization, accountability measures, and a heavy reliance on accountability and testing. Over a decade of school reform efforts have occurred in which the goal of ensuring “every adult American will be literate and will possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship” {Goals 2000: Educate American Act, January, 1994, p. 2) has been addressed. Unfortunately for school students and for American society, school reform efforts have not been largely successful in improving student performance. “Successive waves of school reform, though not nearly as ineffectual as they are often portrayed, have failed to fully realize the improvements they promised” (Evans, 1996, p. 9). Reich (1992) wrote that most schools have not changed for the worse; they simply have not changed for the better (p. 226). Reich argued that schools fail to teach “...four basic skills: abstraction, system thinking, experimentation, and collaboration...” that are required for the new economy (p. 229). Reich also added, “What is to be learned is prepackaged into lesson plans, lectures, and textbooks. Reality has already been simplified" (p. 230). Examining the introduction of technology into school reform efforts, Herman, cited in Means (1995) commented: The school reform movement and the introduction of technology into classrooms are two of the most significant trends in education today. One of the basic messages of school reform is the challenging problems and sustained intellectual Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 19. 5 effort are appropriate for all students, not just those who are academically advanced, affluent, or older, (p. xi) Inherent in technology access at school is the issue of student access to computers and the Internet. Both have become important to teaching and to learning. Access to the Internet means access to information and the ability to communicate with others. As technology usage becomes more integral as the main access to information at school, at home, and in the workplace, the need to ensure that everyone has this access becomes even more critical than it already is. The investigator believes that the most important place to guarantee equal access to technology is in schools. Over the last decade, more emphasis has been placed on increasing technology and technology use in schools. President Clinton, in his Call to Actionfor American Education in the 21st Century, stated, “Every 8-year-old must be able to read, every 12- year-old must be able to log onto the Internet, every 18-year-old must be able to go to college, and all adults must be able to keep on learning” (January, 1997, p. 1). Part of his Call to Action was to “connect every classroom and library in America to the Internet by 2000” (p. 1). Access to technology, specifically to the Internet, and the ability to effectively use technology has become increasingly important to insure participation in the global world. ‘Technology is not only a product of given culture; it also shapes the culture that created it” (Mehlinger, 1995, p. 400). In schools, this means that students have access to information that once was under the control ofteachers, and it enables learners to gain control of their own learning (Mehlinger, p. 402). Students begin to shape their learning around issues, topics, and subjects that come from real life and outside of textbook learning. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 20. 6 It is in the best interest of both today’s young people and the nation as a whole that all students have an opportunity to master the elements of technology they will need to have a productive future. Further, it is also clear that technology should be one of the principal tools by which students learn to manage the ever-increasing base of knowledge they will need to achieve success”. (Milone & Salpeter, 1996, p. 39) ‘Technology can take a school in the poorest of communities and allow its students this wealth of learning opportunity that will give them the same intellectual riches that students in the richest school districts have. It can permit students living in the smallest of rural communities, whose one-room schoolhouse may sit in the middle of a cornfield, to have the learning opportunities and resources of students whose school sits next to the New York City Public Library or the Library of Congress” (Riley, 1995, p. 1). Riley, who was Sectary of Education for the Clinton administration, went on to say that technology in schools can “help close the fault lines in our society” (p. 1). In America, 47.7 million children attend public school (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES] 2003, p. 1). The challenge is how public schools can become the foundation in a democratic society that provides equal educational access for children to participate in America’s social, educative, economic, and political systems. In February 1934, Congress passed the Communications Act of 1934. This act established the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the concept of Universal Service which was designed to provide reduced rates for telephone service to all Americans. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 restructured that law to include schools, libraries, rural customers, and health care providers. The implementation of the Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 21. 7 education rate, better known as the E-Rate, was given to the Federal Communications Commission to implement. Through grants and federal funding, the E-Rate program has helped connect one million public school classrooms to modem telecommunications networks (Kennard, 2000, p. 2). A report on E-Rate and the Digital Divide from the U.S. Department of Education demonstrated that schools have taken the most advantage of the E-Rate program. The number of public schools connected to the Internet has increased from 35% in 1994 to 99% in 2002, according to a survey by the NCES (2003, p. 18). Cooper (2000) indicated that 95% of the nation’s public schools were connected to the Internet (p. A02). In 1999, President Clinton directed his cabinet members to take specific steps to close a gap between the haves with access and the have-nots with little or none. The Digital Divide refers to those groups of individuals who have no or limited access to computers and to the Internet compared to those who have full access. Those who do not have full access are typically low-income, are disproportionately minorities, and/or live in rural areas. Research indicates that the Digital Divide has developed along demographic lines of race, gender, educational level, and income (NCES, 2003). The wiring of schools was seen as the greatest way to bridge the Digital Divide (Cooper, 2000). Clinton (2000), in remarks regarding the closing of this gap, stated that, “when we talk about bridging the digital divide, we mean that everybody ought to have access to a computer; everybody ought to have access to the Internet; everybody ought to know how to use it, and then we ought to make it possible for people to maximum use of it” (p. 1). Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 22. 8 Statement o f the Problem With the nation and the world involved in global communication, the Digital Divide challenges the economics and civil rights ofthe next generation. One of the most significant aspects of the effort to bridge the Digital Divide is the role schools can play and have played in this process. Billons of dollars have been spent purchasing computers and related equipment and in connecting schools to the Internet. According to Carvin (2000) and Gladieux & Swail (1990), several empirical studies have been conducted analyzing the gap between the technology haves and the have-nots and growing programs intended to address this issue. There is little research that addresses the potential for schools to narrow the Digital Divide and whether students, with access to technology and to the Internet, have basic computer literacy skills to utilize the information available from these tools. Determining whether schools with Internet access increase students’ and teachers’ ability to use technology and the Internet effectively and to raise student achievement is a concern of parents, teachers, administrators, and researchers (Milone & Salpeter, 1996). The Federal Communication Commission, Department of Commence, and the U.S. Department of Education have worked jointly to improve the use of technology in schools. Limited data, either quantitative or qualitative, exist on the effect that schools, with computers and connected to the Internet, have on student access to technology. The capabilities of schools to tackle this problem would depend on the technology (e.g., computers, servers), Internet connection (e.g., speed, bandwidth), student/computer ratio, and the level of expertise of teachers and support staffto use technology in teaching and Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 23. 9 learning (Gladieux & Swail, 1999). Few studies have been completed on the effect a highly technological school has on bridging the Digital Divide. Traditionally, researchers have looked at the potential students have through the proper use of technology and how it has and can change teaching and learning (Gooden, 1996; Kallick & Wilson, 2001). The focus has been on tying computer use with higher understanding and school achievement. Additionally, there is a need to examine who fully participates in the use technology and opportunities created by technological changes. The investigator examined who participates in the use of technology, where this use occurs (school, community centers, and/or home), the degree to which a school might be able to facilitate bridging the Digital Divide, and if it is simply enough to provide a technologically rich school setting. Study Purpose The goal of the investigator the investigator in undertaking this quantitative and qualitative descriptive study was to document and to analyze student access to technology and to the Internet within one school; the nature oftheir use oftechnology in school; and the technological skills in use by these students. The investigator observed student access to technology and compared it to national statistics about the Digital Divide to determine if a highly technological school does, in fact, bridge the divide for all students. The study was conducted at one highly technological K - 8 Title 1 school with a diverse student population. The purpose of this quantitative and qualitative descriptive study was to examine and to explore student access to and use of technology and the role schools can play in bridging the Digital Divide. The investigator collected part of the data for this research Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 24. 10 from a student survey and interviews with students, staff, parents, and key players in developing this diverse highly technological school. An analysis of documents (primary sources) and qualitative methods such as content analysis and constant comparative method were implemented to explore and to understand the effects, in context of a school setting, of the meaning of the Digital Divide. The study benefited from the theoretical base of primary statistics on the Digital Divide to guide data collection and analysis. Research Questions The following questions guided the evaluation of the data: 1. Which students at this school use computers and the Internet? 2. Where do the students use computers and the Internet? 3. In what kind of computer activities do these students engage? 4. Is computer use by students related to demographic characteristics such as race/ethnicity, gender or other factors? Significance of the Study The potential for schools to bridge the Digital Divide effectively is a dynamic approach to real educational reform. Understanding who has access in a highly technological school and their level of accessibility will help improve funding, programs, and the allocation of Internet services to schools and help public education give an advantage to all students. The Digital Divide is an issue of access and accessibility. This study contributes to the understanding of school-based equity with respect to access to technology and technological skills. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 25. 11 Assumptions This research on the Digital Divide provides information that can be used to compare other schools to the one studied as they pertain to the Digital Divide across the nation. The investigator made the following assumptions that affected the design of the study and procedures: 1. The impact of technology and Internet access is critical to student ability to ascertain information, communication, and participate fully in the economic and civic life of the 21st Century society. 2. Access and accessibility in schools will reflect the paradigm of educational reform in teaching and learning and will be a factor in bridging the Digital Divide. 3. Success of schools in helping to bridge the Digital Divide will improve the practices, strategies, and possible funding patterns ofpublic schools. Limitations The potential for schools to play an active part in bridging the Digital Divide was determined by through a descriptive study of one highly technological school. The school has its own LAN and was connected to the WAN of the school district. This school, with 1200 students with 1300 networked computers, is not typical of most public schools in the United States. Other highly technological schools are not included in this study. The study is based on comparing and analyzing national statistics to data collected at one urban public school. The school is part of an urban school district and all socio-economic levels are represented in the school population; however, a majority of the students were from minority groups. The investigator did not have the ability to ascertain the income level of the students, which research shows is an important factor in technological access. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 26. 12 Therefore, generalizations to other schools and students cannot necessarily be made from the findings of this study. Definition of Terms Digital Divide. The team used to refer to the gap between those who have access and accessibility to technological tools (computers and the Internet) and those who do not have access and accessibility to technological tools. The following terms are related: Digital Equity and Digital Apartheid. High technological school. Schools that have technology and Internet access for all students. Internet. Networked systems that permit sharing of information and communication though worldwide networked computers. Technology literacy. Knowledge and/or skills needed to utilize computer applications, systems, and the Internet. Access. To gain use of computers and the Internet. Accessibility. Knowledge and/or skills needed to utilize computer applications and systems to obtain information, commonly called technology literacy. Telecommunications. The transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information without change in the form or content. Universal Service. A federal government system designed to make local telephone service available to all Americans at reasonable rate. E-Rate. Short for education rate, E-Rate provides discounts for schools, libraries, health care providers, and rural areas to buy telecommunications services. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 27. 13 Organization o f the Dissertation The dissertation is organized into five chapters. These chapters are briefly summarized below: Chapter 1 provides an introduction, statement of problem, purpose, research objectives, significance of the study, assumption of the study, limitations of the study, definition of terms, and organization of the dissertation. Chapter 2 is a review of literature related to the Digital Divide, universal access, access and accessibility, and provides a description of the school used in this study. Chapter 3 describes the research design and methodology of the study. (Primary sources, student survey, interviews, observation, etc.) Chapter 4 presents the findings from the data analysis of the survey, interviews observation, and primary sources. Chapter 5 includes the summary and findings of the study, along with conclusions and recommendations. Summary The investigator analyzed the national research data in which the Digital Divide was addressed and compared those characteristics to those at one high technological school group that had 1200 students with 1300 networked computers and a plethora of multifaceted software applications. The study was done to ascertain whether these students had more access and skills then those students addressed in national studies. The investigator surveyed students; observed them in school; and interviewed them and their parents, teachers, and administers to compare student access and accessibility to national data on the Digital Divide. The investigator placed an anonymous quantitative Internet Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 28. Student Technology Survey on the school’s LAN and sixth, seventh, and eighth graders completed it. The investigator performed classroom observations to substantiate data provided from the survey. Students, parents, teachers, principals, and technology coordinators were interviewed to further document student use of technology and the Internet in learning. The information gathered from the interviews was used to guide the questions for student focus groups where students shared and demonstrated their use of technology and the Internet. Documents of hardware and software relative to student- computer ratio and student demographics were catalogued, observed, and analyzed. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 29. 15 Chapter 2 Review of the Literature Introduction The origin of the term Digital Divide is somewhat uncertain. The term itself refers to the discrepancy between those who have access to information technology and the Internet and those who do not. From 1995 to early 1996 the term Digital Divide was being used by such persons as Larry Irving, who believed that he borrowed it from Jonathan Webber and Amy Harmon when they worked for the Los Angeles Times, as well as Bonnie Bracey. President Bill Clinton, Vice President A1 Gore, Bob Kahn, and the National Information Infrastructure [Nil] Advisory Commission used the term when looking at standards to develop infrastructure within the technology plans. Robert Reich used it frequently in speeches and reports when he was Secretary of the United States Department of Labor (Benton Foundation, 2001). Since the Telecommunications Act in 1934 (1934 Act) the nation has recognized the need to assure that information is accessible to the masses regardless of socioeconomic status or location. The Telecommunications Act of 1934 was the foundation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and addressed universal service as a means to provide affordable telephone service to all Americans. This national policy defined a system by which basic telephone service was made available at low cost to the poorest households (Bowe, 1993). The Act was the beginning of the communication infrastructure of America that now connects individuals, corporations, schools, and government to each other and the world. With the nation and the world involved in global Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 30. 16 communication though Internet technology, the concept of accessibility takes on greater importance in American homes and classrooms. The E-Rate as a Response to the Digital Divide in U.S. Public Schools In 1996 the new Telecommunications Act (1996 Act) was the first major revision of the 1934 Act and added schools, libraries, and health care providers to the policy of affordable universal service. Within this Act, Congress charged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and states to establish a system that assured that all Americans, regardless of income and location, gain access to telecommunications and information services. The notion of universal service was modified to assure that programs were established to address rural, insular, and high-cost areas at rates that would be comparable to those rates in urban areas. The expression, E-Rate, became the term used to refer to the Universal Service Programs that the FCC defined and administers to fund reasonable rates for schools, rural areas, and health care providers. These funds come from communication companies that the FCC regulates and accumulates. The E-Rate was the promise of the government to address the growing Digital Divide in the country. As part of this promise, “all public and non-profit elementary and secondary school classrooms, health care providers, and libraries” were to be provided with access to advanced telecommunications services (NCES, 1999). The E-Rate program, now in its 11th year, has provided funds to schools and libraries all over the nation to be wired to the Internet. By 2002, 99% of all public schools and 88% of all classrooms were connected to the Internet (NCES, 2003). E-Rate has made a critical difference in the way schools and libraries can deliver educational resources and teaching and learning. For example, now students and teachers may take Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 31. 17 classes online, use the Internet to conduct research and investigate issues, and communicate using e-mail. Up-to-date information is available to urban and rural areas. The Education and Libraries Networks Coalition ([EdLiNC] 2003) reported five significant findings following its survey of the impact of the E-Rate legislation: 1. E-rate is an important tool for economic empowerment in underserved communities; 2. E-rate is beginning to bring new learning opportunities to special education students; 3. E-rate is transforming education in rural America; 4. E-rate technology is helping schools improve student achievement and comply with No Child Left Behind; and 5. Schools and libraries were devoting significant resources and exercising great care in completing e-rate applications, (p. 7) “Probably the single factor driving the expanding importance of access to information and the use of technology is the Internet” (U.S. Department of Education, September, 2000). The report, The E-Rate and the Digital Divide, states that “the most important factors in reducing the digital divide is the growing availability of entry points for low-income person at schools...” (p. 3). The E-Rate provides low-rate access to the Internet with reductions ranging from 20% to 90% to schools, libraries, and community centers. The E-Rate has helped schools develop and expand their infrastructure to a point that 99% of schools in the United States have access to the Internet compared to 35% in 1994. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 32. 18 The NCES conducted the most recent study of the E-Rate program and found that schools have been the largest beneficiary of the E-rate where 99% of the schools were connected to the Internet and 88% had some classroom connection. Carvin (2000) though The Benton Foundation supported a study of four major urban city school districts (Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee) and found the following four common issues: 1. E-Rate discounts allowed the districts to achieve faster deployment of their computer networks and Internet access; 2. The funds allowed the districts to leverage other funds for technology; 3. Coordination between technology and instructional administrators was increased; and 4. Professional development for teachers is critical for the increased availability of modem technology, (p. 29) Other researchers have reported that nationally, people support the E-Rate and what it brings to schools (E-Rate and the Digital Divide, 2000, p. 26). Accesses to technology and the Internet have become an issue of access to social, economic, and educational resources. The E-rate is the largest and latest commitment to educational equity in a generation (Carvin, 2000). Today, access to technology and to the Internet has become vital to educational, occupational, and economic opportunities. Technology and the Internet have made it possible to communicate with hundreds of individuals by sending one e-mail. Shopping, job hunting, gathering research, and checking on the stock market with a click of a button can easily occur. More and more, as America is being transformed into a technologically Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 33. 19 driven nation, with every institution being impacted by the Internet, the American population is separating into groups of persons who have access to technology and to the Internet and into groups of persons who do not have access to technology and to the Internet. Closer Look at the Digital Divide The Digital Divide gap goes beyond a choice made by an individual or household; it reflects deeper problems that relate to access to infrastructures in education and business and to economic opportunities (Krieg, 1995, p. 2). In America and at a global level, economic and personal well-being have become more dependent on the ability to access, accumulate, and assimilate information. Race and income play a major role in the Digital Divide and in access to technology (Hoffman & Novak, 1998; Tapscott, 1998). In the Hoffman & Novak (1998) report, 73% of the White students reported owning a computer at home whereas only 32% of African American students reported owning a computer at home. White students who lacked computers at home reported they were more likely to gain access to the Internet at the home of friends, the library, or a community center than were African American students who lacked computers at home. When Internet access was viewed by income, only 31% of children in low-income families (households earning less than $20,000 a year) had access to a home computer compared to 89% of children in high- income families (households earning more than $75,000 a year); (NCES, 2003, p. 12); (see Figure 1.) Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 34. 20 100 90 80 70 S> 60 S £ 50 fc! S. 40 30 20 10 0 Figure 1. Access to the Internet at Home by Income (NCES, October, 2003). ‘The main reason families buy computers and connect to the Internet at home is to further education, while low-income families without home computers count on schools to level the playing field” (Natt, 2000, p. 1). The how, the where, and the who in terms of access to technology will determine the economic, social, and educational future of each individual and our nation. ‘The lack of exposure to technology, at home and in the classroom dooms millions of American youths to low-paid, insecure jobs at the margins of our economy” (Bolt & Crawford, 2000). Falling Through the Net Reports In the report, Falling through the Net (1995), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration [NTIA] developed a profile of universal service in America. This report looked beyond telephone penetration to computers and modems in view of the persons who are not connected to the National Information Infrastructure (Nil). Generally, in this 1995 report, the following Information have-nots were identified: 89.3 Under $20,000 $20,000 - $35,000 - $50,000 - $75,000 or more $34,000 $49,000 $74,499 R eproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 35. 21 In essence, information “have-nots” are disproportionately found in rural and central cities areas. Though most persons recognize that poor people as a group have difficulties in connecting to the Nil, less well known is the fact that the lowest telephone penetration exists in central cities. Concerning personal- computer penetration and the incidence of modems when computers are present in a household, however, no situation compares with the plight of the rural poor. By race, Native Americans in rural areas proportionately possess the fewest telephones, followed by rural Hispanics and rural African Americans. Black households in central cities and particularly in rural areas have the lowest percentages of home computers, with central city Hispanics also ranked very low. On the basis of age, the single most seriously disadvantaged group consisted of the youngest householders (under 25 years), particularly in rural areas. (NTIA, 1995, p. 2) Essentially, the less education people have, the lower the penetration of telephones, computers, and computer-household modems that appears to be present (NTIA, 1995). After compiling survey data and releasing this report, NTIA requested that federal, state, and local policy makers collaborate and gather more specific information regarding the information have-nots. In 1998, the government released a follow-up report: Falling through the Net II: New Data on the Digital Divide. This report relied on a collaborative effort between the NTIA and the U.S. Census Bureau to obtain information regarding PC/Modem ownership (NTIA, 1998). The following data in figure 2 is descriptive of persons who have access in America. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 36. 22 The 1997 data demonstrate that, as a nation, Americans have increasingly embraced the Information Age through electronic access in their homes. The nation-wide penetration rates were 93.8% for telephones, 36.6% for PCs, 26.3% for modems, and 18.6% for online access. Despite this significant growth, the Digital Divide between certain groups of Americans has increased between 1994 and 1997 so that there is now an even greater disparity in penetration levels among some groups. There is a widening gap, for example, between those at upper and lower income levels. Additionally, even though all racial groups now own more computers than they did in 1994, Blacks and Hispanics how lag even further behind Whites in their levels of PC ownership and online access. too 90 80 70 <D S' 60 2 S 50 y ID 40o_ 30 20 10 0 Figure 2. Electronic Access Penetration Rates in US Households (NTIA, 1998). The Federal Communications Commission reported (FCC, 2000) that high-speed lines connecting homes and small businesses to the Internet increased from 2.8 million in 1999 to 4.5 million by June, 2000. The 1995 NTIA report showed that those of low socioeconomic status in rural areas and in the central cities had disproportionately fewer telephones and therefore less -93r8- 36.6 _____________ 26.3 I 18.6 Telephone PC Modem High Speed Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 37. 23 ability to connect to the information infrastructure. Native Americans in rural areas possessed the fewest telephones followed by Hispanics and African Americans in rural areas. African Americans in the central cities had the lowest number of home computers. Households in central cities had the lowest telephone and computer penetration. Falling through the Net: Digital Inclusion, included the concern that the United States must ensure that all Americans have the information tools and skills that are critical to their participation in the digital economy (NTIA, 2000). At the center of the Telecommunications Act is the goal of universal service, the concept that all Americans should have access to affordable telephone service. Telephone penetration became the measurement of access to telecommunications because it was the most commonly used measure of the nation’s success in achieving universal service (Falling Through the Net, July 1995). The NTIA recognized the limitations of using their telephone service databases when, “Individuals’ economic and social well-being increasingly depends on their ability to access, accumulate, and assimilate information” (p. 5). In July 1999, President Bill Clinton responded to an updated interim report from the U.S. Commerce Department's NTIA concerning a once-overlooked aspect of the Information Age. Summarizing the NTIA's principal conclusions, President Clinton warned that, “there is a growing digital divide between those who have access to the digital economy and those who don't, and that divide exists along the lines of education, income, region and race” (Clinton cited in Phi Delta Kappan 1999, p. 90). As this statement indicates, the core dynamic of the Digital Divide in American society at large lies in an ongoing transformation of the national economy through the deployment and Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 38. 24 use of computer and telecommunications technologies, including the Internet. This structural change is of potentially vast benefit, but it brings with it enormous challenges as well. In a free market, the capital, labor, and technology competencies driving the post-industrial economy are located in the private sector, with corporate entities controlling both the bulk of these production factors and the leading edge in their further development. As a result, market forces are re-determining economic opportunity structures including, but not limited to, skill requirements of stratified labor markets. For those persons on the wrong side of the Digital Divide (i.e., members of economically and socially disadvantaged groups), impoverishment yields low access to information technology and negligible participation in the digital economy. Coming at and through a period of inordinately rapid economic growth and development, such exclusion widens and deepens existing economic inequality. A little more than a year after then-President Clinton issued his statement; the NTIA issued its most comprehensive analysis of the Digital Divide, its socio-economic fault-lines, causal mechanics, and prospective consequences under the title of Falling through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide, (NTIA, 2000). With the deepening penetration of technologies into the national economy, the NTIA asserted, the problem of grossly unequal access to this network and the skills needed to work in a digital environment, class cleavages (strongly associated with racial/ethnic minority status) had mounted, would continue to mount, and would become increasingly intractable. The Digital Divide, the NTIA reported, now threatened to: Establish an impenetrable barrier not only to quality jobs, but also to educational opportunities and access to information that all Americans need to be successful. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 39. 25 The U.S. can avert a potentially devastating new social inequality between the digitally literate 'haves' and 'have-nots' if the nation's skills, resources, and commitment are mobilized quickly”, (p. iv) The inclusion of educational opportunities in the NTIA's summary assessment was associated with the development of advanced vocational skill requirements of the digital workplace and the unequal technology access in the nation’s educational system. In fact, the potential for the emergence of a Digital Divide in American society was first observed and documented in educational research investigating the accelerating penetration of digital learning technologies into American public schools. As early as 1987, Becker and Sterling published a study constructed on broadly-based survey data under the title of “Equity in School Computer Use: National Data and Neglected Considerations.” They found the existence of large disparities in personal computers per student among American public schools and school districts, with presumptively poorer districts having proportionately greater racial/ethnic minority enrollments having much higher (that is, worse) ratios than their predominantly White middle- and upper-class counterparts. As first computers and then the Internet became commonplace in American schools between the mid-1980s and the present, these initial conclusions about the emergence of a technological equity problem in American elementary and secondary schools were updated and reaffirmed. As Becker and Ravitz (1998) wrote in their introduction to a study of the Digital Divide in American public schools: In education, innovations designed to improve students’ accomplishments often have the unintended consequence of increasing inequality by improving the Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 40. 26 accomplishments of more advantaged students without helping, or even doing harm, to disadvantaged students, (p. 1) The introduction of computer/telecommunications technology into the nation's school systems and its ongoing integration into the learning process could potentially help to level the playing field between privileged and disadvantaged learners, and, by extension, assist in equalizing class, race, and other differentials in post-secondary education and the labor market. As it now stands, the mega-trend, innovation of technology in American education, is not helping students who are already disadvantaged. As the NTIA's report Falling through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide (2000) suggested, because the emergence and growth of the Digital Divide took place so rapidly, formal research on the equity dimension of technology access is only in its initial stages. Government policy and academic social science researchers are still in the process of defining the Digital Divide at large, and this is also true within the particular domain of public education. This literature review followed a topical approach to a field that is still in the process of formation. The investigator delineated the main findings of recent investigations into the Digital Divide, as they currently exist in American public schools. Discussion of individual studies is restricted to a handful of recently published representative works in a separate section of the survey. This approach reflected the fact that our basic knowledge of what the Digital Divide is in public education actually is exceedingly limited, yet rapidly growing even as the underlying phenomena undergo concurrent transformation. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 41. 27 The Growth o f Technology in U.S. Public Education The penetration of technology into American public education has proceeded at an extraordinary pace. In terms of the now standard measure of personal computers (PCs) per elementary and/or secondary students attending public schools, according to Ely (1996), the ratio increased from one PC per 125 students in 1983 to one PC per 12 students in 1995 (p. 3). Updates to Ely's estimates vary considerably and are subject to constant revision themselves. In 1999, for example, Phi Delta Kappan indicated that there was one computer for every six public school students in the United States {Phi Delta Kappan, 1999, p. 90). At the same time, using alternative statistical sources, Scheffler and Logan (1999) reported, “Presently, schools have a ratio of about 1 computer for every 10 students” and then added, “Nearly all districts have at least one multimedia-capable computer” (p. 306). It is clear that American society is witnessing a trend that is universal in its scope, although by no means even in its degree; a trend that continues to advance at an extraordinarily rapid pace. Whereas the computer itself has gone from being a novelty within American education during the 1980s to being a standard feature of schools across the nation in an impressively short time span, the growth of digital telecommunication information networks accessible through PCs has been even more astounding. Since the advent of the hypertext World Wide Web, or Internet, in the early 1990s, the adoption/diffusion rate(s) within public schools has been unprecedented. Between 1994 and 1998, Yoder (2001) reported that the percentage of U.S. classrooms with Internet access rose from 3% to 51% (p. 13). Indeed, according to the NCES (2003), by 2002, a lull 92% of such classrooms were online. By 2002, according to the United States Department of Education, 81% of Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 42. 28 all U.S. public school students in grades 1 through 12 used the Internet at school (NCES, 2003, p. 12). Increasingly, many public school students enjoy the benefits of home ownership or use of personal computers. Although comparable longitudinal data for public school students in home access to PCs does not exist, the Department of Education reported that by 2002, 65% of public school students in grades 1 through 12 had a personal computer in their households (NCES, 2003, p. 12). Internet penetration into the homes of this same populace is substantial, though not nearly as high. According to the same report, in 2002, 45% of all U.S. public school students had online access within their households (NCES, 2003, p. 16). Conducted at different times through different methodologies and with the use of different samples, and invariably behind the curve of actual growth rates, these statistics nonetheless clearly show that most American public school students currently enjoy some in-school access to powerful learning technologies. From this finding, it would appear that most elementary and secondary learners in the United States today have some opportunity to develop the basic skills that they will need to succeed in college and, beyond that, in a post-industrial, information age society. But as discussed in detail in the next section of this review, in terms of such basic measures as the computer/student ratio, tremendous variability still exists across schools and school districts. Indeed, in some cases, these gaps have widened as a result of rapid influxes of technology in some schools and actual declines of technology in others. In their survey of Florida's elementary, middle, and secondary public schools, Barron and associates (Barron, Hogarty, Kromrey, & Lenkway, 1999) reported that the vast majority of schools had experienced very rapid increases in both classroom computers and in student computer Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 43. 29 usage between 1993 and 1996. Surprisingly, though, 5% of the schools in the Barron et al.’s sample said that both their total number of computers and of student computer usage actually declined during that same three-year time frame (Barron et al., p. 101). The Main Fault-Lines of the Digital Divide One of the most salient and meaningful fault-lines on the Digital Divide occurred along the dimension of educational attainment (NTIA, 2000). Thus, the NTIA reported that Americans who had graduated college were eight times more likely to own a computer than those persons who did not have a college degree, and that 61.6% of college graduates reported frequent Internet use as compared to only 6.6% of persons who did not have a college degree (NTIA, 2000). Clearly, personal educational attainment is a significant differential of the Digital Divide at large. For elementary and secondary public school students, parental educational attainment is undoubtedly a significant correlate of their technology access within the home and within public schools as well. Nonetheless, for educational researchers, level of educational attainment is, quite obviously, not a direct operational variable. Rather, level of educational attainment relates to socioeconomic status reflected, for example, in student household income, and the very closely associated variable of racial/ethnic minority group membership. The Digital Divide in American public education is most appropriately construed in terms of long-standing resource disadvantages marked by class and race/ethnicity. It should be noted that today there is no difference in the rates of computers and the Internet between boys and girls. The use rate ofboys was higher during the 1990s, but in today’s world that higher rate has disappeared (Figure 3, NCES, 2003). Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 44. 30 100 90 80 70 Male Female Figure 3: Access to the Internet by Gender (NCES, October, 2003). As noted earlier, Becker and Sterling (1987) published a landmark study of the equity dimension to computers in American elementary and secondary schools. From an analysis encompassing a stratified sample of 2,331 public and non-public schools, they found, among other things, that, “Black elementary school students in 1985 were less likely to attend schools with computers and blacks of all ages attend schools with fewer computer-using teachers than do whites. Socioeconomic status and achievement differences between schools account for the other differences in access and use of computers by students” (p. 310). Minority group students are more likely to come from households with incomes and wealth below the national average, to live in poor communities (most notably in inner city neighborhoods), and to attend high poverty schools in districts that have inadequate local tax bases to support public education (Orfield, Schely, Glass, & Reardon, 1994). Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 45. 31 Some evidence exists that being in a racial minority group is related with digital technology access of public students independent of socioeconomic status. For example, McKissack (1998) stated that, among U.S. households with total incomes of less than $40,000 a year, Whites are six times more likely than African Americans to have used the World Wide Web in the last week and twice as likely to own a personal computer than African Americans (p. 20). Non-white status appears to compound technology access disadvantages of students from low-income households/school districts. In 1992, Becker estimated that poor school districts with a majority African American student enrollment had 10 to 12% fewer computers than other poor school districts. Using Chapter 1 (income eligibility for federal educational subsidies) status as a surrogate for student socioeconomic status, Hayes (1995) reported that, despite the availability and use of Chapter 1 funds for technology purchases, schools with the lowest percentage of Chapter 1 students had the best student-to-computer ratios (p. 52). Hayes further reported that student enrollment of these digitally enriched schools was almost or all White. A more recent study by Gladieux and Swail (1999) showed that the lowest ratio of computers to students was in schools and school districts that had the largest proportions of minority group and poverty household students. Other researchers have reported findings that were not consistent with the previous reports of a relationship between student socioeconomic status and lower access to digital technology in public schools. In a statistical survey of 525 Missouri public school districts, Alspaugh (1999) found “no consistent relationship between financial resources of the districts and the number of students per computer” (p. 143). Alspaugh then added an interpretation that “the schools with the smallest number of students per Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 46. 32 computer are allocating a larger proportion of their financial resources to computing technology” (p. 143). But Alspaugh’s research results were based on imputed school district financial ability (annual district expenditures per student) rather than on student household income or neighborhood socioeconomic status. Similarly, Barron et al. (1999) reported in their study that, “there were no strong relationships found between the use of computers in the school and the percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch” (p. 101). This unexpected finding appears to be an artifact of the study design rather than a direct contradiction of a hypothesized relationship between student socioeconomic status and the students’ school’s digital resources. The bulk of the evidence supports a strong association between poverty (student, community, and school district) and low computer student ratios in public elementary, middle, and secondary schools. With the enhancement of the personal computer through the advent of the Internet, the poverty factor is again evident. Hayes and Bybee (1995) observed, “generally speaking, schools with poor student-per-computer ratios have limited access to other modem learning technologies, such as telecommunications, cable in the classroom and multimedia” (p. 48). In support of this finding, the NCES, (2003) reported that 85% of students from high-income households reported using the Internet at school, as compared to 83% of their peers from middle-income families and 75% of students from low-income families (see Figure 4). Students who attend school in low-income and minority areas have less access to the Internet. These findings demonstrated the differences in access of computers to students who are from low-income households at schools were Internet connectivity has been established. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 47. 33 86 84 82 80 <u Cl(a % 78 uL - Q) 76 74 72 70 Figure 4: Students Who Use the Internet at School by Income (NCES, 2003). Among public school students, class is an even more powerful predictor of computer and Internet accessibility at home. Kafai and Sutton state that the available evidence and their own study results strongly demonstrate that “families at the lower socio-economic end (have) a much greater likelihood of not having a computer at home” (Kafai & Sutton 1999, p. 355). According to the United States Department of Education, 91% of public school students in grades 1 through 12 from high-income families have a computer at home, whereas 76% of their peers from middle-income families and only 46% of students from low-income families have access to a personal computer at home (NCES, 2003). The corresponding household-income differentials for at-home Internet use are even more pronounced within the same population: 75% of students from high- income families are online at home, compared to 63% of middle-income, and just 37% of low-income students (Figure 5, NCES, 2003). High Income Families Middle Income Families Low Income Families Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 48. 34 80 70 60 <u 50 Ui B g 40 20 10 0 Figure 5: Students in Public Schools (1-12) with Internet Access at Home by income (NCES, 2003). In terms of in-school PC usage and student-PC ratios, students who are members of traditionally disadvantaged minority groups, especially African-Americans and Hispanics, demonstrate only a slight disadvantage in usage when the influence of economic variables is controlled. For example, among White students in public schools, 83% are more likely to report frequent (at least once a week) use of the Internet at school, compared to 70% for African-American students and 71% for Hispanic students. The differentials on this count are not large (Figure 6, (NTIA, 2000). When race and income are considered together, a more sharply etched portrait of unequal access along minority group status lines appears (see Figure 6). Internet usage is substantially below average in schools with a high percentage of Black students and/or students receiving free/reduced-cost lunches under Title 1 funding programs in public elementary and secondary schools (Leigh, 1999). Leigh goes on to say: ■75- Total All Students High Income Families Middle Income Low Income Families Families Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 49. 35 White African-American Hispanic Figure 6: Students Who Use the Internet Once a Week at School by Race (NCES, 2000). The results of this study strongly suggest that access to educational technologies is unequally distributed among schools of differing racial or socio-economic makeup. Schools with predominantly White students are more likely to have Internet access than schools with large number of students of other ethnic backgrounds. Along the same lines, students of high socio-economic status [SES] are more likely to have Internet access at their schools than students of low socio­ economic status, (pp. 122-123) Although difficult to disaggregate the effects of SES and racial/ethnic minority group status, students who belong to traditionally disadvantaged groups—African- Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans—do appear to be substantially disadvantaged in terms of at-school access to technologies. Race is a powerful discriminator of PC home ownership/access availability among U.S. public school students. In 1998, a full 70% of all White public school students reported having a computer in their households. By contrast, in that same year, Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 50. 36 only 28% of all African-American students and 28% of all Hispanic public school students had a personal computer in their homes (NCES, 2000, p. 71). In terms of Internet access at home among public school students, a parallel racial divide is evident. In 1998, 32.2% of White public school students, but only 8.4% of their African-American peers and 8.0% of their Hispanics peers were had Internet access at home (NCES, p. 161). Consistent with the findings of previous studies, access to the Internet at home by race increased among all ethnic groups but at a disparate rate. In 2001, 66.7% of White public school students and 64.6% of Asian public school students reported using the Internet at home while 45.3% of African American and 37.2% Hispanics reported being online at home. (NCES) These results can be seen in Figure 7. 100 90 80 White Black Hispanic Asian Figure 7: Access to the Internet at Home by Race (NCES, October, 2003). In addition to SES and race/ethnicity, some evidence exists of a significant gap along geographic setting lines. The distinction here is between relatively privileged Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 51. 37 suburban and high-income urban school districts, on the one hand, and both rural and low-income inner city neighborhoods on the other. Overlap exists between these geographic lines and socioeconomic status/race-ethnicity, with inner city ghettoes being marked by a high degree of poverty and by high concentrations of disadvantaged racial/ethnic minority group members. Costs, especially to provide telephone lines into classrooms to access the Internet and to pay Internet service providers (ISPs), substantially limit student in-school (and at-home) access to the World Wide Web (Johnson, 1995, p. 2). Rural communities tend to have below-mean household incomes independent of racial/ethnic composition. But it is in terms of telecommunications access that students in rural public schools experience the sharpest inequalities. As several researchers have observed (Hayes, 1995, p. 51; Johnson, 1995, p. 2), some rural communities do not have access to a local ISP because Internet access entails long­ distance access and is, therefore, is cost-prohibitive (Gunderson & Anderson, 1999). In terms of at-home Internet access, the NTIA study reported that urban households with annual incomes in excess of $75,000 were 20 times more likely to have Internet access at home than were those rural households at the lowest income levels (NTIA, 2000). There is one further dimension to the Digital Divide in American public schools that has not been addressed in large scale surveys or in case studies, but was recognized by Becker and colleagues as early as the late 1980s. Supplementing existing databases with their own mail questionnaire research, Becker and Sterling found much higher levels of computer usage among high-ability students assigned to college-bound tracks than among low-ability students assigned to vocational tracks within the same schools. They reported that in addition to greater frequency and total time of computer usage, high- Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 52. 38 ability students were exposed to a much wider array of computer uses, whereas low- ability students were constrained to drill and practice exercises (Becker & Sterling, 1987). Becker and Sterling also reported that teachers of high-ability student classes were substantially more likely to own their own personal computers than were teachers of low- ability class students. This same disparity was found by Becker (1984) and then again investigated in 1998 by Becker and Ravitz. In addition to class, race, and community geographic setting, which differentiate largely on a school district-by-school district basis as well as a school-to-school basis, within any given school we may find another dimension of the public education Digital Divide along the lines of demonstrated/perceived student ability. The Digital Divide in American Public Schools Broad statistical data suggest quantitative disparities in the access of public school students to digital technology within school and at home along the lines of class, race, community geographic setting, and student ability. But there are qualitative aspects to these same phenomena, for though two schools may have identical student-to-computer ratios and a coequal percentage of classrooms wired to the Internet, this does not necessarily mean that there is digital parity between them. Depth of digital experience in the classroom is as important a dimension of the Digital Divide as the width of the gaps delineated previously in this chapter. Blanchard (1999) remarked that: Sophisticated technology demands not only a high level of knowledge from its users, but also a concomitant degree of familiarity and comfort. Students must have exposure to the workings of the computer and develop ease with various hardware and software to acquire a high degree of competence and skill. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 53. 39 Merely occasional usage and/or usage confined to comparatively simple tasks (e.g., keyboarding, surfing the Web) do not immerse students in digital technology, (p. 2) According to proponents of computer-assisted instruction, the process of exploiting digital technology for educational purposes tends to unfold in stages. As Johnson (1997) explained, there are three sequential phases in educational computing: (a) familiarization, (b) acquisition, and (c) integration. Many public schools today are familiar with digital technology and have acquired some ofthe hardware and software necessary for its use, but they vary greatly in terms of the third stage, integration. On this subject, Moursund (2001) pointed the road ahead: The curriculum needs to be revised so that IT (information technology) is thoroughly integrated into the instruction and practice that is designed to produce fluency in writing, mathematics and science. That is, IT needs to be integrated into all curriculum areas at all grade levels as a routine and everyday component of curriculum, instruction and assessment, (p. 5) If students are to receive optimal exposure to technology and optimal benefit from its use as a learning medium, this deeper level of integration into the learning process must be implemented. The available evidence indicates that most American public schools have not achieved such deep integration of digital technology into the learning process. According to Scheffler and Logan (1999), “few teachers routinely use computers for instructional purposes” (p. 306). Along the same line, Leigh (1999) commented that public school teachers “are not using or integrating technology tools in the classroom, nor are they Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 54. 40 incorporating related textual, graphical, or simulated learning materials available or simulated learning materials available on the Internet into their lessons and learning environments” (p. 124). Despite the extremely rapid penetration of digital technologies into American public schools over the last decade or so, the actual usage of such technologies often fall well short of what proponents of CAI have advocated (i.e., broadly integration into the regular classroom and the regular curriculum). According to Johnson (1997), editor of the journal Computers in the Schools, although the rising number of PCs in the schools is encouraging, two problems have limited the benefits that digital technology can purportedly yield for public school students: “(a) many existing computers are outdated and... (b) the preponderance of computing power is in laboratory settings and library media centers” (p. 2). Gunderson and Anderson (1999) addressed where computers are located in schools stating that, “We have observed that Internet access is often only available in most elementary schools in the principal's office and in secondary schools in the administrative offices and in a computer laboratory” (p. 7). Indeed, according to Fabry and Higgs (1997) about one-half of all computers in American public schools are located in centralized computer labs, in media centers, or in teachers’ offices where they are not accessible to students on a daily basis (Fabry & Higgs). In fact, "In many American schools, kids are still getting one-half hour of computer time in the computer lab per week" (Johnson, 1999, p. 1). Constraints upon the use of the Internet are especially severe. At one urban elementary school, the administration paid for 40 hours of Internet time per month; and those 40 hours of log-on time a month was shared by 500 students using one computer located in the school library (Gunderson & Anderson, 1999). Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 55. 41 In terms of obsolete equipment, American schools have more up-to-date computers today than was the case in the early 1990s (Johnson, 1997). As reported in Phi Delta Kappan, only 22% of all computers in American public schools were less than 10 years old, but by 1998, that proportion had risen to over 50%, with 45% being less than five years old (Phi Delta Kappan, 1999). This appears to be a favorable development: Nonetheless, due to the short time span for significant upgrades in technology, many public school computers are now woefully out-dated. While the United States leads the world in the sheer number of instructional computers, halfof these computers are 8-bit machines, incapable of supporting CD-Rom sized databases, running complex software, or being networked. The computers in use are predominantly used for lower-order thinking skill activities such as drill or practice. (Fabry & Higgs, 1997, p. 381) Though comparisons are difficult to secure, data strongly suggest that schools serving higher proportions of disadvantaged students have a higher percentage of outdated computer equipment than those schools serving higher proportions of privileged (i.e., white, middle- or upper-class, college-bound) students. “For the most part, the higher the socio-economic status of the student body, the more likely the school will have higher levels and faster types of Internet access. Students of low socio-economic status are likely to have low-level, slow types of access that allow for transmission of text information only" (Leigh, 1999, p. 123). The obvious starting point in any discussion of the causes behind the current Digital Divide in American public schools is the availability of financial resources to fund the purchase/replacement of equipment and software to pay for various service and Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 56. 42 maintenance, and for developing the technological skills of teachers and other staff members. Typically schools and school districts focus on the obvious initial costs associated with buying hardware (Fabry & Higgs, 1997). They tend to neglect consideration of the costs associated with software acquisition, maintenance and repair, training and technical staffing, replacement and system upgrades, and telecommunications connections (Fabry & Higgs). When all of these costs are totaled, the total burden of integrating computer/telecommunications media into American classrooms is enormous. Indeed, when considering the extent of this goal, one is led to conclude with the title of an editorial by Johnson, "A Computer for Every Student? It Ain't Going to Happen" (1999, p. 3). According to the NTIA, only about 1.3% of elementary and secondary educational expenditures are allocated to the acquisition of instructional technology (McKissack, 1998). To furnish every public school student with his or her own computer would reportedly raise that sum two or three times. For most school districts, however, financial restraints are ensured by the resistance of taxpayers, particularly property tax payers, to the increase in school budgets that would be required to fully implement ambitious plans for integrating technology into all public school classrooms. "For the typical school district administrator who is looking at a budget that had nothing left over once salaries, building maintenance, instructional materials, and miscellaneous items are deducted, it (the goal of a school computer for every student) seems impossible —which, of course, it is!" (Johnson, 1999, p. 2). In the face of the large costs entailed in bringing technology into public schools and taxpayer resistance to footing these bills, the American educational system’s reliance Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 57. 43 upon local property tax necessarily yields gross inequalities. Many school districts do not have an adequate tax base relative to the number of students within their boundaries, and by definition, low-income and disadvantaged minority group students are over­ represented in these poor school districts. By contrast, some Local Education Agencies, (LEAs) have extensive local property tax bases relative to the size of their public school student populations, and can therefore afford the outlays required to bring their schools into the Information Age. These comparatively rich districts generally have very low proportions, if any, of low-income and/or minority group students. The system of public education funding in the United States is therefore highly unequal. “When a system's structure is already very unequal, it is likely that when an innovation is introduced (especially if it is a relatively high-cost innovation), the consequences will lead to even greater inequality” (Rogers, 1995, p. 436). The net result is that "computers and telephone access seem very much a luxury to poor families and poor school districts, who regularly grapple with putting nutritious food on the table and certified teachers in the classroom" (Gamer & Gillingham, 1996, p. 16). Disadvantaged public school students suffer unequal access to technology because they attend schools in the districts of poor communities. Deficits in infrastructure and the cost of maintaining computers and obtaining Internet access represent a major hurdle in any effort to narrow the Digital Divide. In their survey of 58 public schools, Gunderson and Anderson (1999) found that every school had computers, but about 60% lacked the technology needed to access the Internet (p. 7). Johnson commented in 1994: Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 58. 44 There are plenty of teacher and students who are ready, willing, and able to pull the Internet into their classrooms. They have the computers, the modems, the accounts, and the passwords. What they can't get is the phone lines, (p. 2) Lack of telephone lines or cable into classrooms represents a major barrier to the integration of technology into American public schools. As of 1996 only one U.S. public school teacher in eight had a classroom telephone (Fabry & Higgs, 1997, p. 391). This finding is reinforced by the fact that disadvantaged school districts are comprised chiefly of students from low-income households who find themselves in situations that parallel their local schools. Gunderson and Anderson (1999) stated: Likewise, many poor families are unable to afford a computer or to pay for a (Internet) service provider. Thus children from middle-class homes who already tend to have greater access at school tend again to be privileged further in that they are also much more likely to use the Internet at home. Indeed, the standard pedagogical approach we have observed is that elementary teachers assume students have access at home and give homework assignments that require it. (P- 7) The Digital Divide that disadvantaged public school students face in the classroom is essentially widened by a correlative (and substantially greater) gap in their at-home access to technology and the Internet. Many low-income households in the United States, particularly those households in inner city neighborhoods, do not yet have telephones (Gamer & Gillingham, 1996, p. 16). Minority group members are over­ represented within this subset as 18% of African-American households do not have phones (McKissack, 1998, p. 20). Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 59. 45 Not only do poor communities lack the requisite financial resources to reach the technological standards of middle- and upper-income school districts, they also have substantially fewer community members who are aware ofthe importance of technology and the Internet as a learning resource. In what Becker and Ravitz (1998) term high- education/high-income communities, local stakeholders, such as parents and business owners, are often vocal in their support for introduction of information technology into public schools, whereas in low-education/low-income communities, the chief concern is about containing costs or meeting basic reading and arithmetic literacy goals. A normative expectation about their children’s futures introduces further bias into the equation: In working class schools there may, in fact, be an emphasis on punctuality, neatness, obedience and structure because these are the attributes conducive to subordinate labor. On the other hand, creativity, independence, and higher level thinking skills are taught in upper middle class and elite schools to prepare students for their future roles in the workplace. Therefore, an expectation concerning students and their futures is another potential source of inequality, (pp. 2-3) It may well be that part of the Digital Divide in American public education is the product of differences in the values, goals, and expectations of adult constituencies in districts with high proportions of advantaged students public school students and those in districts with high proportions of disadvantaged students. Overlapping the Digital Divide, another gap exists that is apparent in the use of technology within American public schools, the so-called utilization gap, or the Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 60. 46 technology literacy gap. Much of the difference between the benefits that computers and the Internet could bring to public school students and the lower level of benefits that are realized in practice centers upon the variable, but generally insufficient, computer skills of classroom teachers (Fabry & Higgs, 1997). Several educational researchers have observed that neither teacher education programs nor in-service training programs have kept pace with the need to develop digital technology competencies for classroom teachers (Ellsworth, 1997; Gunderson & Anderson, 1999; Melheim, 1997). "Teachers are mostly self-taught and spend their own time and resources to expand their knowledge about technology" (Scheffler & Logan, 1999, p. 306). Their ability and willingness to tackle this challenge is extremely variable. In their day-to-day activities, classroom teachers are characteristically on their own in dealing with digital technology: Only 6% of elementary schools and only 3% of secondary schools have full-time on-site technology coordinators (Fabry & Higgs). The absence of adequate training for classroom teachers in technology and computer/Intemet-assisted instruction raises teacher anxiety about its usage and about prospects for losing control over their classrooms (Fisher, 1997, p. 146). What is being asked of teachers in using technology and the Internet is nothing short of a revolution in teaching practice. To integrate technology into classroom practice in the manner envisioned by ardent proponents, teachers must make two radical changes —not only must they learn how to use the technology, but they must also fundamentally change how they teach. Teachers are being asked to move away from relying on a teacher- centered classroom to a more student-centered classroom. This represents a more Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 61. 47 difficult transition for teachers than simply using technology. (Fabry & Higgs, 1997, p. 388) Under these conditions, some classroom educators are resistant technology making inroads into familiar. As McKenzie (1996) suggested, a portion of such resistance to change is not an explicitly conscious choice or one that teachers overtly recognize. Teachers trained in one technology and mind-set sometimes find themselves gridlocked into old patterns and perceptions. Thrust into a world of new technologies, they persist in seeing them in terms of the familiar; the word processor, for example, is viewed as a glorified typewriter with powerful editing features rather than as the idea processor it can be. (p. 1) Efforts have been underway for more than a decade to incorporate technology competencies into teacher training programs (Scheflfler & Logan, 1999). The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has led the way in the effort to identify such core competencies and convey them to teachers in training, and possibly test them, before certification. But here too there are problems, most notably those difficulties stemming from the relentless advancement of technological capabilities. Thus, for example, Hirumi and Grau (1996) used a Delphi panel of experts to identify 60 broad informational technology proficiencies that classroom teachers should have. When they compared their roster with digital technology competency lists for public school teachers prepared by state educational authorities, they found very little consensus about what teachers should be able to do in the classroom with digital technology. Of the 60 competencies they identified, only four appeared on at least 50% of state lists (Gooden, Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 62. 48 1996). Moreover, similar fragmentation was evident within computer-related journal articles and textbooks addressing core digital competencies of classroom teachers. There may well be a mutually reinforcing relationship between the Digital Divide and this under-utilization gap. As Herbert Becker reported in a 1992 study, "only half as many elementary teachers in poor district/majority-black schools were judged to be ‘expert in using instructional software’ as in other elementary schools" (Becker, 1992, p. 17). Very little information is available on the difference between digital technology skills and knowledge of teachers in rich school districts and those in poor school districts. Nevertheless, the literature does suggest that high-tech teachers are attracted to technology-rich schools, demonstrating that disadvantaged students are significantly under-represented in technologically advanced schools. The U.S. Department of Education’s Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology (PT3) was created to provide grants for school districts, state agencies, teaching colleges, and non-profit organizations to develop programs to help teachers become technologically literate (U.S. Department of Education, 2000, p. 15). The CEO Forum on Education and Technology developed the Teacher Preparation School Technology and Readiness (StaR) chart that provides benchmarks for evaluating how technology is being integrated into teacher preparation programs. Technology Innovation Challenge Grants and Technology Literacy Challenge Fund (TLCF) programs have provided funds directly to schools to increase technology literacy in teaching and learning. These programs are designed to ensure that all new teachers have adequate training in technology but, for the most part, these programs are new and have not been evaluated. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 63. 49 Studies Concerning the Digital Divide in American Public Schools In addition to national surveys such as those investigations conducted by the NTIA and the USDE, during the past decade scholars have published research findings about the Digital Divide in American public schools in the form of both qualitatively- oriented case studies and quantitatively-oriented investigations. A sampling of these works suggests that attention is now focused upon determining what works in raising the level of use of technology in public schools and how the Digital Divide in such schools can be narrowed. Milone (1999) published a study of the implementation of a connected community concept in the Lemon Grove, California school system. A suburb of San Diego, Lemon Grove has its own local access network (LAN), which allows members of the community at large, including parents, to monitor events and communicate directly with their community schools. Milone observed that the at-home Digital Divide was a significant barrier to the lull implementation of Lemon Grove's connected community concept: Without question, the greatest impediment to achieving the learning-related goals of the connected community is providing access for low-income families. These families simply do not have sufficient disposable income to purchase the hardware, software, and Internet service needed to participate in the connected community", (p. 21) Local officials addressed this problem through two approaches: (a) They installed PCs with Internet connections in several public places within the community, such as libraries and community centers, and (b) they lent families an Internet-ready personal Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 64. 50 computer with appropriate software. Milone reported that Lemon Grove had experienced no significant problems with its loaner approach to overcoming the hardware/software cost aspect of the digital divide. Rhodes (1996) undertook a comparative study of computer usage in the public schools of New York City, San Diego, and Iowa City. In New York City, Rhodes observed, central administration offices had low levels of technology investment when compared to the City's schools and classrooms. In San Diego, Rhodes found an opposite relationship: Central administrative offices enjoyed the latest digital telecommunications capacity whereas many schools worked with computers that were essentially obsolete. In this assessment, Iowa City had the best balance in the distribution of technology assets between central offices and schools. According to Rhodes, the key to Iowa City's success lies in the district superintendent's commitment to computer-assisted instruction and the willingness to reach out to the local business community and form a technology-in-the- schools partnership with private enterprise owners. As a consequence of active leadership and community support, Rhodes found Iowa City to be a model of how a working class school district can bring itself and its students into the Information Age. Rhodes when on to state: The Iowa City experience suggests that steady, incremental growth of human and work process infrastructure necessary to maintain improvements in schools effectiveness could be facilitated in most school districts. Thus would first require empowering administrators, teachers, and staffthrough improved communications across the district, and then providing them with productivity Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 65. 51 tools to help them efficiently access and analyze the information they need for informed decision-making, (p. 39) Because of the balance in the distribution of technology resources between district offices and school sites the district superintendent was able to keep in constant communication with principals, staffmembers, and classroom teachers using digital technology in the schools (Rhodes, 1996). In a year-long study of computer-mediated communications (CMC) tool usage by 280 students in high schools participating in the CoVis Project, Fishman (1999) reported that CoVis is "an educational networking test bed funded by the National Science Foundation to explore issues of advanced computer and communications technology in practice" (p. 75). The study subjects were generally privileged, with 78.5% of them reporting home access to a personal computer. The students who had the most accumulated computer/Internet experience used CMC tools far more extensively than those students with less experience. Further, those students who were most active in CMC activities also reported significantly higher levels of academic self-concept than those who were less active in CMC activities. According to Fishman (1999), the Digital Divide can be overcome through the integration of CMC technology into regular classroom studies. Summarizing these findings and those of the CoVis Project as a whole, Fishman wrote that it was "best to integrate it (CMC tools) with ongoing classroom activity, rather than making it a separate activity. Without such training, a gap between those who have computers at home and those who do not could grow to represent a difference in educational experience between the “haves” and “have-nots” (p. 86). Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 66. 52 One of the most significant investigations of the Digital Divide published is Becker and Ravitz's (1998) study of technology use among and within schools that belong to the National School Network (NSN). The NSN is a nationwide alliance of some 300 public schools united in their commitment to constructivist educational reform including, but not limited to, the integration of technologies into classroom instruction. The authors indicated that the 152 schools that responded to their survey questionnaires were not representative of American public schools as a whole. The majority was located in urban communities, serviced students from middle- and upper-income households, and had partnerships with local business groups and/or mentoring programs. Nevertheless, Becker and Ravitz found NSN schools to be as racially diverse as U.S. public schools at large; indeed, they have a slightly higher percentage of non-white students than the mean for U.S. public schools as a whole. In terms of their expenditures on technology, NSN schools have modestly higher outlays per student than national norms for public schools: Their instructional IT budgets are about 25% greater than average for U.S. schools (Becker & Ravitz, 1998). Becker and Ravitz (1998) reported a high degree of variance in the depth to which NSN schools in their sample had integrated digital technologies into the learning process. Although the NSN schools all have minimal levels of hardware connectivity, the schools differ among themselves tremendously in how far they have progressed in bringing Internet-based learning to their teachers and students. Some NSN schools have programs involving many teachers and many students. In others, only one or two teachers and a handful of students are involved. The World Wide Web in some schools is simply a means of acquiring encyclopedic information Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 67. 53 from digital sources, while in other NSN schools teachers and students are producers and publishers to their community and the outside world, (p. 9) As a whole, NSN schools are ahead of the educational technology curve, but though some member schools are in the vanguard, others closely resemble the national norm in terms of digital learning implementation. The first question addressed by Becker and Ravitz in their research was: .. .whether students in the particularly accomplished NSN schools are disproportionately upper-middle-class white students or whether the NSN's most successful institutions serve poor and minority students as frequently as do the schools that have made the least progress so far in achieving Internet-based teaching and learning goals, (p. 9) Among the outcome measures utilized by Becker and Ravitz was the extent of teacher and student use of CMC activities, number and type of such activities, and community support for such activities. On most of these counts, Becker and Ravitz (1998) found that "there were no statistically significant or sizeable correlations with the percentage of students from poor families, the percentage from historically disadvantaged ethnic groups, or the rating of the community as ‘high,’ ‘high-average,’ or Tow-to- average’ socio-economically" (p. 10). Examining the results, they concluded that "overall, NSN schools that serve lower socioeconomic and historically disadvantaged groups are doing as well in innovating instructionally useful Internet- and network-based learning experiences for their student bodies as are NSN schools serving more advantaged populations" (Becker & Ravitz, 1998, p. 11). This finding strongly suggests that with an appropriate educational Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 68. 54 philosophy and levels of technology expenditure that are only modestly higher than national norms, schools that serve disadvantaged students can overcome the Digital Divide separating them from schools serving privileged students. Becker and Ravitz's study had a second and crucial dimension. It revolved around the research question of "equity within NSN schools—that is, does privilege rear itself within a heterogeneous body so that students who are academically more successful are the ones who are given the opportunity to use the Internet and are challenged more academically by it" (1998, p. 11). Concentrating on the secondary schools in their sample (i.e., schools in which students were grouped into classes on the basis of ability), Becker and Ravitz found that students in the higher-ability classes received much more frequent opportunities to use their schools' digital technologies than those students in the lower- ability classes. As important, in NSN schools with a significant proportion of minority students and/or students from lower-middle income households, this bias toward high- ability students was even more pronounced. "Where there was a substantial ability difference between classes combined with substantial ethnic or social class diversity in the school and community, the higher ability class was much more often favored with greater Internet use" (p. 22). Within the NSN schools in disadvantaged communities, students assigned to lower-ability classes were almost never given the opportunity to work on the Internet. What Becker and Ravitz found, then, was that a Digital Divide exists along the lines of student ability and that the student ability variable is an inordinately powerful predictor of student access to technology within schools on the wrong side of the Digital Divide (p. 23). Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 69. 55 The Consequences o f the Digital Divide in American Public Schools Advocates of the integration of technology and the Internet into the regular classroom maintain that computer-assisted instruction yields superior educational outcomes when compared to traditional teaching methods. Despite decades of study, the question of the relative academic efficacy of computer-assisted instruction (CAI) has not yet been conclusively resolved (Barron et al., 1999). Kulik and Kulik (1991) and Kulik (1994) in their meta-analytical reviews found that the introduction of computer-based instruction in public schools generated statistically significant improvements in student performance. Other researchers such as Yang (1991, 1992) found "no significant difference in student achievements between computer-based instruction and the methods of traditional instruction" (Yang, p. 96). Alspaugh (1999) is among those scholars who have written extensively about the alleged drawbacks of computer-based classroom instruction, claiming that time spent on learning technological skills detracts from student absorption of regular academic course contents. Whether or not students on the disadvantaged side of the educational Digital Divide are thereby deprived of a superior medium of instruction is moot. Nevertheless, it is apparent that besides having less exposure to technology in school, and hence less developed computer/ telecommunications knowledge/skills required on a growing percentage of quality jobs, digitally disadvantaged students cannot reap the full benefits of CAI and are at a profound handicap in classrooms that do make extensive use of computer-assisted instruction. Investigating the influence of at-home technology upon the academic performance of public school students, Kafai and Sutton (1999) noted that although 45% Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 70. 56 of all computer purchases by people with children are made for expressly educational purposes, such outlays may not have their intended effect (p. 346). They further cited observational studies conducted in late 1980s and early 1990s, several of which reported that "many students found it difficult to operate on their own at home in the absence of their teachers or their more knowledgeable peers, key components of their school software design environment" (p. 348). Surveying the parents o f277 students attending a technologically-advanced laboratory school in California, among whom nearly 90% reported having a PC in the home, Kafai and Sutton (1999) found from parental reports that most of these students used the bulk of their at-home PC time playing computer games and sending e-mails, rather than in academically-related tasks (e.g., researching homework assignments). Considering these results, Kafai and Sutton wrote that: An increase in the quantity of computers and software does not necessarily correlate with an increase in the quality of computer home activities. In many ways, these results are reminiscent of computer use in the schools. Just putting computers into classrooms and connecting them to the Internet does not address how technology is integrated into subject matters, classroom activities, and student learning and teaching. The same applies to the home setting: just having a computer at home does not mean that children will use it for educational purposes. In fact, most children get introduced to interactive technologies within an entertainment context by playing video games, (pp. 354-355) These results might prompt a modification of the assumption that public school students who do not have an Internet-connected PC at home are disadvantaged vis-a-vis peers who enjoy such in-home access. Nevertheless, as per Kafai and Sutton, the Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 71. 57 educational impact of home PC ownership and connection to the Internet appears to be significantly greater as schools move from the acquisition to the integration stage of their digitalization. Several scholars have investigated the impact of educational technology upon student self-concept. For example, Tierney (1996) suggests that immersion in a technological classroom has a profound and positive impact upon how students see themselves as learners and as community members. (In the) Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow Project, technology has become woven into the fabric of who they are and what they do both individually and within their classrooms, schools and wider communities. Technology has played an important role in how these students view themselves, the roles they assume in their various communities, and the cultural practices they have come to value", (p. 169) Other scholars maintain that there is a direct correlation between Internet usage, on the one hand, and social isolation, on the other (Blanchard, 1999; Egan, 1997; Sanders, 1994; Sleek 1998). In the main, empirical evidence indicates that exposure to technology in school contributes to gains in student self-concept. That being so, technologically disadvantaged students may well be deprived of experiences that could raise their self-esteem. Some researchers have sought to find correlations between student-to-school computer ratios and various measures of student behavior, including conduct violations, absenteeism, and voluntary student withdrawals. Barron and associates investigated the relationship between the number of computers per student in Florida schools and student conduct. Their "results indicated that there was clearly some evidence of a decrease in Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 72. 58 student conduct violations with an increase in the availability of computers" (Barron et al., 1999, p. 105). On the other hand, Alspaugh (1999) indicated that: The availability of computers appears to be unrelated to attendance rates and high school dropout rates. The results of the study (also) imply that there is no relationship between the availability of computers and the traditional measures of educational outcomes, including achievement, attendance, and dropout rates, (p. 149) The evidence about the consequences of the Digital Divide for student in-school behavior, then, is as yet unclear. At present, public schools in the United States are under strong pressure from both reform-minded educators and the public at-large to improve their output performance through comprehensive restructuring(s). Ely (1996) wrote the most ambitious educational reforms included technology: The movement for restructuring education in the schools across the United States has generated proposals for reform of the entire education system. Virtually every proposal or plan includes educational technology as one of the major vehicles for implementing change, (p. 35) To the extent that digital technology is thought of as a primary tool for a transition from teacher-centered to student-centered instruction, the relative dearth of digital equipment available to disadvantaged students represents a constraint upon their capacity to participate in gains via thoroughgoing educational reforms. As important as these consequences may be, the literature strongly suggests that technologically disadvantaged public school students experience the full brunt of the R eproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 73. 59 Digital Divide's adverse effects only after they have left school and entered the world of work in the Information Age. "The disparity between the techno-rich and techno-poor comes to a head with this statistic: A person who is able to use a computer at work earns 15 percent more than someone in the same position who lacks computer skills" (McKissack 1998, p. 20). The so-called new economy requires labor market entrants to bring a well developed set of technological skills with them on their initial job searches; even old economy employers may make hiring decisions on the basis of variations in the respective computer skills ofjob candidates. Moreover, with increasing frequency, "companies are using the Web for making job announcements and collecting resumes" (McKissack, p. 20). Absent some familiarity with technology, then, recent public school/college graduates are increasingly at a disadvantage in finding quality employment opportunities. Indeed, access to the Internet has become an important determinant of participation in the nation's political life. At present, "government officials are using the Web more often to disseminate information. Political parties are holding major on-line events" (McKissack, p. 20). That being so, the digitally disadvantaged confront rising barriers to their development of a full and informed say in politics and policies, including those barriers that touch upon the Digital Divide in American public schools. Government Policy Responses to the Digital Divide in American Public Schools It has been only in the past five years or so that the existence of a Digital Divide in U.S. public education has been elevated to the status of a national public policy concern. In the late 1990s, government agencies having a stake in the educational Digital Divide (e.g., the Department of Education and the Department of Commerce) sought to Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 74. 60 educate the public about its existence and prospective consequences. Much of this work now appears on Internet websites such as "digitaldivide.gov," maintained by the NTIA. At the federal level, the policy response to the educational Digital Divide has taken three generic forms: (a) moral exhortation; (b) modest subsidies; and (c) programs targeted to high-risk groups. As an example of moral exhortation, as early as 1994 then- Vice President Al Gore announced that one portion of his plan to reduce the Digital Divide in the nation's public schools hinged upon persuading telecommunications companies to furnish public schools with free Internet hook-ups (Johnson, 1994). Some computer equipment and service provider companies have been persuaded to furnish poor or disadvantaged students, schools, and/or school districts with lower cost or, on occasion, free equipment. Nevertheless, as Johnson (1994) lamented, "American business is only interested in helping education if there is a profit to be made" (p. 3). This statement may appear to be an excessively harsh judgment, but it is apparent from the modest contributions that the private sector has made to closing the Digital Divide in American schools that moral exhortation is inadequate for the task at hand. At both federal and state levels, efforts have been undertaken to close the Digital Divide as it affects certain defined groups of at-risk students. Representative of such targeted programs, the Department of Commerce now sponsors the Encouraging Students Through Technology to Reach High Expectations in Learning Lifeskills and Achievement (ESTRELLA) project (Kinser, Pessin, & Meyertholen, 2001). The program furnishes Internet-ready laptop computers to students of migrant farm worker families, many of whom are doubly disadvantaged by their economic level and lack of English language fluency. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 75. 61 As the NTIA's report demonstrates, moral exhortation, limited federal subsidies, and programs targeted at high risk groups have not made a significant impact upon the Digital Divide in American public schools as a whole. Despairing of greater local- and state-level funding for educational technology, Johnson (1999) recommends a lowering of expectations, telling colleagues that "instead of thinking about universal access through $2,000 computers, we need to start thinking about $50 basic learning units" (p. 4). This approach would narrow the Digital Divide gap at a surface level, but as the integration of technology into the school curriculum proceeds, reliance upon such basic learning units is plainly less than optimal. The federal government has created programs that furnish public schools with dedicated subsidies. The School and Libraries Universal Service Program, established by Congress through the provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and also known as the "E-rate," permits fees imposed on telecommunications companies to be used to subsidize Internet service to public schools. From the inception of the program in 1996 until the end of the year 2000, some $4 billion in Internet service subsidies has been cycled to public schools via the E-rate mechanism. Because of the gains in access to technology by all Americans, the administration's budget cuts in 2003 called for cuts in funding to programs that have been bridging the Digital Divide. This reduction in funding might slow or dampen the progress schools have made in expanding access to all public school students. Summary The Digital Divide in American public schools became a matter of national policy concern in the late 1990s. As in society at-large, available evidence indicates that Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 76. 62 students from traditionally disadvantaged groups, notably low-income households and non-white racial/ethnic minority groups, have significantly less access to technology in public schools than students from privileged groups. This gap is even greater when class and racial disparities in at-home access to technology are taken into account, and is likely to increase as American public schools move from the acquisition to the integration phase of the digitalization process. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 77. 63 Chapter 3 Methodology Purpose o f the Study The potential consequences of the educational Digital Divide are manifold, profound, and enduring: Absent a concerted effort to close the gap, American society is likely to be bifurcated between technological haves and technological have-nots. Nevertheless, although the existence of the Digital Divide in American public education has been elevated to a major policy problem, at the national level at least, policy responses initiated to date have been fragmentary and inadequate to the challenge at hand. The purpose of the study was to explore the use of technology and the Internet by students in a technologically rich, ethnically diverse school to determine if access to computers and Internet at school differs from the use of computers and the Internet in other places and if the results from the study of one school can be generalized to other populations. The study is designed to address the following research questions: 1. Which students at this school use computers and the Internet? 2. Where do the students use computers and the Internet? 3. In what kind of computer activities do these students engage? 4. Is the use by students related to demographic characteristics such as race/ethnicity, gender, or other factors? To the extent that technology is thought of as a primary tool for accessing information, this study will provide research on technology and Internet use of students and possible boarder implications of what can and should be done in schools. New Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 78. 64 research can help support the growing use of technology in schools and educational reform. Figure 8 shows a graphical presentation of the study. Questions/Data Data Source/Results Synthesis/Analysis Focus Groups Qualitative Final Student Survey Design Review of Literature Student Survey Quantitative Observations Qualitative Interviews Qualitative School Affect on Digital Divide Document Analysis Quantitative I Qualitative Analysis / Inference Figure 8: Graphic Organization of Mixed Model / Design. The investigator of this study used multiple sources of data collection to enhance reliability of the findings. The source of the data collection was derived from an Internet Student Technology Survey, student interviews, and classroom observations. A parent/staff focus group helped frame the survey and provide reciprocity. Reciprocity involved the development of a survey that would remain on the school’s LAN and Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 79. 65 thereby is reusable by the school at any time. The investigator was able to gather data in a culture of openness and involvement. Research Design To address the research questions, the investigator employed both qualitative and quantitative methods in a descriptive case study design. Descriptive research involves describing attitudes, behaviors, or conditions. Kane, cited in Fraenkel & Wallen (2003), “Descriptive studies describe a given state of affairs as folly and carefully as possible” (p. 15). “A case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context” (Yin, 1994, p. 13). Case study design thus provided for data collection and analysis in a variety of ways. In case study research the process, context, and discovery are more important than the outcomes, variables, or confirmation (Merriam, 1998). A limitation of using a case study design is the generalizability because of the specificity of the sample studied (Merriam; Yin). Newman and Benz (1998) state that both qualitative and quantitative research “are needed to conceptualize research holistically” (p. 20). Because qualitative research usually deals with theory building and quantitative research usually deals with theory testing, the use of both methods will provide a complete methodology conceptualization (Newman & Benz, p. 21) and provides for a richer understanding of the variables and their relationships (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998, p. 126) than either method used in isolation from the other method. “Data conveyed through words have been labeled qualitative, whereas data presented in number form are quantitative” (Merriam, 1998, p. 69). Tashakkori and Teddlie, (1998) outlined a mixed model study as being both quantitative and qualitative (parallel) in all stages of the design. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 80. 66 Instrumentsfor Data Collection The investigator developed instruments to collect data based on a review of literature, focus groups conducted at the school site, and the government reports Falling though the Net, Computer and Internet Use by Children and Adolescents and, Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-2002. Data collection methods included the Internet Student Technology Survey, Classroom Observations, and Student Group Interviews. The investigator developed the Internet Student Technology Survey, Classroom Observation Checklist, and the Interview Protocol with the assistance of a parent/staff focus group. Focus Group After reviewing the literature on technology in schools, the Standard Workstation Software on the computers at this school (see appendix A) and tenets of this school (see appendix B), as well as maintaining an ongoing involvement at this school site, the investigator conducted several focus group meetings. The administrative team selected the focus group members comprised of administrator, teachers, and parents (see appendix C), with a variety of technological skills (i.e., low or no skills at all, medium, and high). The focus group was designed to provide the investigator with information that would help frame the student survey, student interview questions, and classroom observations and to assure obtaining information regarding technology use in schools and homes. The first meeting was held in the spring of 2001 and generated discussion about students who have access to technology and to the Internet and indicators that students might demonstrate which could be documented. At the second meeting, four months later, the focus group reviewed the draft survey and interview protocol and made recommendations Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 81. 67 about wording and questions to be included or excluded. The investigator conducted guided discussions with focus group participants to review the survey with respect to objectives of the research and their perceptions and experiences with students and technology (see Appendix C). There was a focus on clarity of the wording, items that might need to be added or deleted to enhance outcome, and key words that would be needed to assess student completion of the survey. According to Fowler (1993) “the general protocol is to discuss people’s perceptions, experiences, and perhaps feeling related to what is to be measured in the survey” (p. 96). With each focus group meeting, discussions were directed to what counted as access to technology and Internet use, what would demonstrate student abilities to use technology in learning, and the role played by the school in developing these skills. Pilot Testing o fStudent Survey Fowler states: Once a survey instrument has been designed that a researcher thinks is nearly ready to be used, a field pretest of the instrument and procedures should be done. The purpose of such pretests is to find out how data collection protocols and the survey instruments work under realistic conditions”, (p. 100) The investigator conducted a pilot study of 22 fifth grade students prior to a third parent, teacher, and administrator focus group. Parents signed consent forms before students could participate in this group. After administering the survey, the investigator asked students about the reading level of the survey and the difficulty of the questions (Fowler, p. 101). The investigator shared results ofthe student pretest with the focus group at the third meeting and again made modifications to include formatting changes Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 82. 68 and rewriting several questions. Another student group took the survey and the investigator again made changes to clarify wording and the order of questions based on discussion with these students. The investigator held a final meeting with the members of the focus group and staffto review the final student survey and interview protocol. Internet Student Technology Survey According to Fowler (1993), the purpose of a survey is to produce a quantitative description of some aspects of the study populations. Fowler went on to say, “Good questions are reliable (providing consistent measures in comparable situations) and valid (answers correspond to what they are intended to measure)” (p. 69). The anonymous quantitative Internet Student Technology Survey was developed and organized around the information provided from the review of literature, the government documents, “Falling through the Net,” “National Center for Education Statistics” reports, five years of observation, working at the site of this study, and Focus Group meetings. The survey included closed-ended questions for the numerical parameters of the research. A few open-ended questions allowed students to provide information concerning specific applications and uses. The instrument identified demographics of the student population, their access to computers and the Internet (classroom and home use), and their technology skills (see Appendix D). The advantage of using a survey at this school is that it could be placed on the LAN and accessed during a common homeroom period. The survey was developed in Microsoft Access, which would automatically generate raw data through file transfer protocol. All middle school students completed the survey at the same time (in Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 83. 69 homeroom), which increased the number ofrespondents. Students who were absent took the survey in homeroom the day they returned to school. Following Fowler (1993), six suggestions for developing a self-reporting survey the following format were established: 1. The survey was self-explanatory. 2. Most of the questions require closed-end answers. 3. There were a limited number of questions (there are 34 in this survey). 4. The survey was typed, laid out clearly, and uncluttered. 5. There are no skipped questions (i.e., if no, go to number x). With Access, if the question does not apply, it does not come up on that student’s survey (i.e., if the student does not use a computer at home, none of the home questions on the survey will appear for answers). 6. It provides a redundant pattern of information, (p. 100) The survey was completed in school therefore eliminating the problem Merriam (1998) addressed of automatic exclusion because of a lack of access Fowler (1993) listed several advantages and disadvantages of self-reporting. Advantages include the ease of administering online, presenting questions that have complex response categories, having a lot of similar questions, and the fact the respondent does not have to answer to an interviewer. Disadvantages include (a) having to design a survey, which was addressed by working with the parent/staff focus group before the final design and (b) quality of answers when using a self-reporting survey. The investigator addressed the issue of individual student bias affecting self-report measures by conducting interviews and observations. Further, to assure that students did not experience difficulty completing the R eproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 84. 70 survey, there was no requirement for writing and the reading level was within the range of high primary grades. Instructions to teachers were to provide any words needed, spell any items that the respondent requested, and to encourage students to answer all questions. A hard copy of the survey was provided for students with disabilities and classroom aides administrated the survey. The survey could be completed within 20 minutes. The investigator built confidentiality into the design of the survey by using the LAN at t school and online responses. Students logged into the network and responded online without indicating their names or other identifying information. Data were collected in the aggregate, with no student identification made available to the investigator. Parents were notified of the study and were provided access to the survey. Parents were informed that the survey was voluntary and that they and the students had a right not to participate. Interview Protocol Merriam (1998) stated, ‘The main purpose of an interview is to obtain a special kind of information (p. 71). Further, “interviewing is also the best technique to use when conducting intensive case studies of a few selected individuals (Merriam, p. 72). According to Tashakkori and Teddlie (1998), “In traditional quantitative research, the open-ended interviews are used for early research on issues, when information is not already available” (p. 101). From these interviews, an initial item pool is used for more structured interviews (Tashakkori & Teddlie p. 101). Qualitative data for classroom observations and student interviews were collected from individual interviews with the principal, technology coordinator, and selected teachers and parents (see Appendix E). Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 85. 71 Interview questions addressed access to technology and the Internet at the school, individual teacher and/or student use, and the types of projects and assignments one would use at school. The parent/staff focus group approved the structured interview protocol and a parent or teacher was present at each student meeting (see Appendix E). Classroom Observation Checklist Observations are delineated from interviews because observations “take place in the natural field setting instead of location designated for the purpose of interviewing” and “observational data represent a firsthand encounter with the phenomenon of interest” (Merriam, 1998, p. 94). Merriam added, “In the real world of collecting data, however, informal interviews and conversations are often interwoven with observation” (p. 94). Classroom observations were conducted over several months. The investigator visited each middle school teacher’s class a minimum of two times to observe the use of technology. If the class, individual student, or teacher was not using technology during that period, the investigator went to another class. The investigator designed a classroom observation checklist (see Appendix F) to observe the degree of student use of technology, the Internet, and software applications and collected these data to compare and correlate them with the self-reporting survey. No students or teachers were identified on the checklist. Classroom observations were conducted in November of 2003. It was important that the observation fit into the structure of the school and therefore several visits took place before data collection began. Observations were done on a weekly basis during several different periods until all 20 classrooms were observed while using technology. Extensive notes were recorded documenting the observation on a checklist (see Appendix F). Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 86. 72 Student Interviews There were four student interview sessions with middle school students. Participants were referred by administrators, coordinators, and teachers who had knowledge of the technological skills of the students. Students were selected because they demonstrated high technological skills, medium technological skills, or minimal technological skills. These sessions were held during November and December, 2003 for one hour in the technology lab at lunchtime and/or after school. Lunch or snacks were provided. There were 10 students in each session. During the 50-minute focus group students were permitted to demonstrate their skills and talk about how this school has affected their view on technology and their technological skills. The student interview protocol focal point was on access and use of technology and the Internet and where and when they acquired their skills (see Appendix G). The investigator contacted parents of these students personally after the administrator obtained permission from their parents to submit their names. At each student interview session, a parent or teacher was present. School Case The investigator used a purposive sampling methodology (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998) and selected a school with technology as a major part of its program, where students had access to technology and the Internet in their regular classes. The school is in the nation’s fifth largest school district, with over 13,000 teachers and 250,000 students in an urban city. Over 88% of the students are minority and disadvantaged. In August of 1994, the school under study was opened as a partnership effort between the school district and a major university. In addition to the emphasis on technology, the school opened with the beliefthat the school would provide a diverse group of children Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 87. 73 with challenging academic experiences and the nurturing environment necessary to be come lifelong learners; critical thinkers; and responsible citizens in a diverse, democratic, and global society. Technology learning goals were one ofthe primary functions of the school. The school offered a technology-rich environment with over 1,100 networked computers. Each student has access to technology throughout the day, making technology an integral part of the curriculum. Further, the software used at the school was appropriate for student needs and consistent with workplace software. A large part of the school’s strength in technology can be attributed to its association with the university. The university faculty and staffmembers have taken an active part in design of the building, contributing to the development of the curriculum, and adopting technology and integrating it into classrooms. The university provided teachers at this school with training and helpdesk support during the first few years, before the school district Information Technology Department took over Internet connectivity using the district enterprise network. When the school opened its doors to 1,200 students, all 50 regular classrooms had a teacher computer that was connected to a large classroom monitor. Teachers also had laptops at their office desk. Dozens more were available to students at the school’s two electronic studios, in the library, and in all the classrooms. Each computer was equipped with basic, off-the-shelf software, including such typical office application as word processing, database, and spreadsheets, as well as more specialized networking and educational programs such as FLASH, TASS tutoring, and Accelerated Reading. The school has an open enrollment policy with diversity and busing written into the guidelines. The school in this study is a technology-rich K - 8 school where every Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 88. 74 student enrolled has an Internet account. Glennan and Melmed, (1996) identified the following eight shared common practices found in five technology-rich schools, described as representative ofbest practices: 1. Each of the schools was learner-centered. 2. Each was goals- and student-outcome oriented. 3. Each had a density of computers that far exceeded other schools. 4. All had restructured their programs substantially. 5. All had explicit, focused development efforts. 6. External funding pushed each forward. 7. Relations among adults in the schools appeared changed. 8. Annual per-student technology cost ranged from under three and over five times the average, (p. 32) This school met or exceeded all of these standards. It is a unique school where extensive uses of computers and Internet resources have been available to all students from the day the school doors opened. A core group of teachers and parents worked with architects in designing the ultramodern school that was build around the idea of creating communities of learners to include teachers as well as students. The original vision for the school was multi-dimensional. These dimensions were called tenets. As several of the school’s 12 tenets state, the school is learner-centered with teachers, students, parents, and administrators responsible for governance at the school level (see Appendix A). Learning is structure to real-life situations, with teachers as role models. The number of computers to students (almost 1-1) far exceeds other K-8 schools. This technology-rich school, with collaboration with a university and a computer company, restructured the Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 89. 75 curriculum to be interdisciplinary and integrated using technology as a focus. A computer company donated over 1200 computers and the networking unit in the school. This school district as well as the university has continued to provide technological and budgetary support for upgrading and training. The 12 tenets were embedded in the planning of the school in a way that the intellectual resources of the university, the computer company, and other community institutions would become key components in supporting the innovative work at the school. Student Sample All sixth through eight grade students who attended the school (434) were administered the online Internet survey and constituted the study sample. Results from those who had attended for three or more years were analyzed. The rationale for choosing this sample for analysis was that they were representative of students who have had access to technology and the Internet at school during a three- to five-year period. Of these students, 149 were six graders, 150 were seventh graders, and 135 were eighth graders. Self-identified ethnically, 54 were Caucasians, 157 were African Americans, 186 were Hispanics, and 37 were Asians. The school reported that 40% of the students qualified to receive free- or reduced-priced lunches {School Report Card, 2000-2001). Sources o fData and Instrumentsfor Data Collection Multiple instruments were used to gather data to address the research questions in this dissertation. Tashakkori and Teddlie (1998) defined mixed model studies (or mixed methodology designs) as “studies that are products of the pragmatist paradigm and that combine the qualitative and quantitative approaches within different phases of the research process” (p. 19). These triangulation methods provide for a stronger study then a Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 90. 76 mono-method and provide for a “greater opportunities for causal inference” (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998, p. 42). Table 1 shows the alignment of the research questions, data sources, and means of analyzing data. Table 1 Data Analysis Chart Research Question Data Source Data Analysis 1. Which students at this school use computers and the Internet? ■ Student Survey Questions: 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 30 ■ Classroom Observation ■ Student Interviews ■ Statistics from survey ■ Checklist Profile ■ Description of use 2. Where do the students use computers and the Internet? A. At school? Questions: 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 22, &30 ■ Student Survey ■ Classroom Observation ■ Student Interviews ■ Statistics from survey ■ Checklist Profile ■ Description of use B. At home? Questions: 4, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 23, &30 ■ Student Survey ■ Student Interviews ■ Statistics from survey ■ Description of use 3. What kind of computer activities do these students engage? A. At school? Questions: 4, 9, 11, 13, 15, 22, 24 & 30 ■ Student Survey ■ Classroom Observation ■ Student Interviews ■ Statistics from survey ■ Checklist Profile ■ Description of use B. At home? Questions: 4, 10, 12, 14, 16, 23, &30 ■ Student Survey ■ Student Interviews ■ Statistics from survey ■ Description of use 4. Is the use of computer by students related to demographic characteristics such as race, gender or other factors? Questions: 30, 31 & 32 ■ Student Survey ■ Classroom Observation ■ Student Interviews ■ Statistics from survey ■ Description of use Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 91. 77 Data Collection Procedures Data collection for this research study consisted of a multidisciplinary approach that included selection of site, site visitations, interviews, focus groups, observations, a student survey, and document analysis. The investigator was familiar with the school, having spent two years as principal and maintaining continuous contact with administrators, coordinators, teachers, parents, and students for more then 5 years. The investigator continued to be a resource to the school, assisting staff members in maintaining a degree of comfort with the research process. The investigator: 1. Had a formal introduction to the new principal at the site to ensure participation in the study. Held discussions and made recommendations for participants (staff, parents, and students). 2. Met with the technology coordinator and developed a needs assessment for parents and teachers to accompany the student survey. 3. Met with the Focus Group four different times over a two-year period and completed the development of the Student Internet Survey, Student Interview Protocol, and the Classroom Observation Checklist. 4. Provided the principal with a letter confirming participation in the study, the purpose of the study, the protocols and student survey, and the how, when, and where data would be collected (see Appendix H). All sixth through eighth grade teachers were notified by e-mail of the purpose of the study and who would be participating (see Appendix I). Parents were notified by newsletter and copies of Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 92. 78 the Student Survey were made available for review in the main office (see Appendix J). The following components were provided for all adult participants: • An overview of the study and the importance that the focus group, interviews, and student survey would bring to the study. • An assurance that all information gathered would remain confidential, that the school, individual students, individual staffmembers, and individual parents would not be identified, and that a summary of protocols would be available for clarification and accuracy as the final report was completed. • A letter and telephone contact information of the parents of students who would participate in interviews. Permission/release forms were obtained (see Appendix K). • A review of questions and protocols used during the study. • The investigator’s e-mail address for private comments and recommendations. 5. The first focus group was conducted away from the school at a parent’s home. Follow-up meetings were held at the school in the technology lab. 6. Lunch or snacks were provided at all meetings. 7. The first student survey was administered to a fifth grade group and refined after discussion with students and teachers. 8. The final student survey was developed and administered. 9. Data analysis was completed by the investigator using all the data sources. 10. A preliminary report was presented to administrators, technology coordinators, and parent/staffgroup for review, verification of facts, and comments. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 93. 79 11. The final draft of the report was provided to the administrator, technology coordinator, teachers, and parents involved in the focus group. 12. Student data were collected online with a survey. This survey was developed by the investigator with input from a parent/staff focus group. Classroom observations and student interviews were completed. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected and analyzed. 13. The last focus group with parents and staffmet to review the results and to discuss final perceptions about the outcomes and inferences. Data in this study were collected from a single school site and used (a) an anonymous quantitative Internet Student Technology Survey where students responded to questions regarding their use of computers, (b) observations of students using technology and the Internet in class, (c) a review of the school’s demographic documents, and (d) interviews with principals, teachers, parents, and student groups. These methods of data gathering included quantitative and qualitative methods. Formal and informal observations at this school site over five years sustained reliability to this study of school effect on the Digital Divide. The Internet Student Technology Survey, Interview, and observation data were contrasted and compared with data gathered from the government reports Falling through the Net and National Centerfor Education Statistics. Sources o fData The anonymous quantitative Internet Student Technology Survey was placed on the school’s LAN (see Appendix D). Classroom observations were conducted. The investigator completed a classroom observation to all 20 classrooms and 3 computer labs to provide documentation of data/information provided from the survey. Classroom Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 94. 80 observations were conducted over a 6 month period. Parents, teachers, principals, and technology coordinator were interviewed for description of students’ work using technology and the Internet in learning. The information gathered from these interviews was used to guide the questions for student interviews where students demonstrated their use oftechnology and the Internet. Documents of hardware and software relative to student-computer ratio, and student demographics were also catalogued, observed, and analyzed. Document Analysis The demographic, technological assets of the school including hardware and software, samples of student technology projects (web pages, graphic and text-based presentations, etc.), and the school report card (which includes test scores) were collected and analyzed prior to beginning the study. This information was also used to examine data collected through survey, observations, and interviews. The research questions were clustered around computer use in the schools and at home; computer activities including use of the Internet, and how use is related to demographic characteristics. The Internet Student Technology Survey was used to produce a statistical analysis for each question. In the observation of classrooms, the specific pieces of technology equipment used and the manner in which they were used was documented. The information gather in the classroom observations and the student group interviews were used to support and corroborate data obtained from the survey. Validity o fInstrument Internal validity, the extent to which the instruments measured what it is supposed to measure was ensured through the design of multiple data collections. Validity is R eproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 95. 81 strengthened when data and the design of the study are valid (Newman & Benz, 1998). The study was designed to collect data from multiple data sources and to create multiple verification of continuing findings. Merriam (1998) asserted the following regarding internal validity: The extent to which research findings are congruent with reality is addressed by using triangulation, checking interpretations with individuals interviewed or observed, staying on-site over a period of time, asking peers to comment on emerging findings, involving participants in all phases of the research, and clarifying investigator biases and assumptions, (p. 218) Of these six basic strategies, all were employed in this study by using both quantitative and qualitative instruments to corroborate and to illustrate the findings. The student survey was reviewed by the focus group that provided recommendations for the final document. Two pretests were administered to fifth grade students and modifications were again made for the final document. Part of the data collection occurred throughout a six-year period of time while the investigator sustained involvement with the focus group to ensure confirmation of emerging findings. To avoid investigator’s biases, interpretations of data were reviewed by colleagues in the field of educational technology (Newman & Benz, 1998, p. 66). External validity, “the extent to which the design and the data match the world” (Newman & Benz, 1998, p. 35), or the study can be generalized to other situations (Merriam, 1998, p. 218) was explored though a comparative analysis of the national statistics generated by the federal report Falling through the Net. This analysis was a descriptive comparative of that document and the Internet student technology survey. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 96. 82 Reliability of the Instrument Reliability, “to extent to which there is consistency in the findings” (Merriam, year, p. 218), was established through triangulation of data collected, structured interviews and observations, and detailed descriptions of how data were collected. Because the student survey was a large part of this study, the wording of each question was designed for understanding at no higher then a fifth grade reading level. Each item was written for clarity and simplicity of response. Fowler (1993) indicated that respondents perform better and results can be reliably interpreted if alternatives are provided in the survey (p. 82). Most of the survey items consisted of closed-end questions with open-ended questions added for additional technology that the student might use. All students received the same survey on the Internet with provisions for hardcopy to enable teachers or aides to read and/or respond for students with disabilities. Human Subjects Considerations Protection of human subjects was dictated by school district guidelines and requirement by the University’s Human Subject Clearance. Because this research study was conducted in a public educational setting and involved minor children, the investigator obtained consent forms from students participating in interviews and from their parents before they could participate in the pretest and student group interviews. The Internet Student Technology Survey was part of the school’s Needs Assessment used for school planning and parents were also notified. Parents, teachers, and administrators all participated in the study voluntarily. Because the district, school, staffmembers, parents, and students were guaranteed complete confidentiality and anonymity, involvement presented minimal risk to participants. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 97. 83 Proceduresfor Data Analysis Data were analyzed and synthesized through an ongoing exercise of comparing and contrasting between the Internet student technology survey (quantitative data) against observations and interviews (qualitative data). Continuous triangulation of the data occurred throughout the study. All documents were altered to ensure confidentiality and anonymity. There was an item-by-item analysis of data collected from the survey for the purpose of identifying patterns in documents. Qualitative data from interviews and classroom observations were tabulated to see if there was an identifiable pattern. Responses were compared and contrasted to national data. Summary charts were developed to aggregate results and to demonstrate relationships and trends. The potential for schools to play an active part in bridging the Digital Divide was determined by this descriptive study of one highly technological school. The school has its own LAN and was connected to the WAN of the school district. This school, with 1200 students with 1300 networked computers, is not typical of most public schools in the United States. Other highly technological schools are not included in this study. The study is based on comparing and analyzing national statistics to data collected at one urban public school. The school is part of an urban school district and all socio-economic levels are represented in the school population; however, a majority of the students were from minority groups. The investigator did not have the ability to ascertain the income level of students, which research shows is an important factor in technological access. Therefore, generalization to other schools and students in general are not known. Readers are urged to be cautious in the extent to which generalizations are made from the findings of this study. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 98. 84 Summary In this chapter the investigator reviewed the methodology and research design of the study and explored access to technology and Internet access by students in a highly technological school to determine whether that access is different from the use of others in the general population. The development of the survey and other protocols was outlined to establish the validity and reliability of the instruments and the rigor of data analysis. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 99. 85 Chapter 4 Results of the Study Introduction The purpose of this study was to examine and to explore student access to technology and the role schools play in bridging the Digital Divide. In this chapter the investigator provides an analysis of data collected from student surveys, student observations, and student interviews at one highly technological K - 8 school. The student survey was placed on the school’s LAN and participants were able to respond online for one week, usually during homeroom. The survey was created in Microsoft Access and the network specialist provided the investigator with raw data. Research Questions Data were analyzed to respond to the following dissertation questions: 1. Which students at this school use computers and the Internet? 2. Where do these students use computers and the Internet? 3. In what kind of computer activities do these students engage? 4. Is computer use by students related to demographic characteristics such as race/ethnicity, gender, or other factors? To address these questions, the investigator used both qualitative and quantitative methods in a descriptive design. Quantitative data were collected from the survey and statistical analysis was performed using SPSS for MS WINDOWS Release 6.1 (SPSS, Inc., 1994). The mixed model study strategy (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998) employed in this study provided for data to be collected from multiple sources to provide for triangulation (Marshall & Rossman, 1995). Triangulation in this study helped corroborate Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 100. 86 information obtained from student self-report surveys, with classroom observations and focus groups. The analysis of the data is divided into two sections, the raw data and a comparative analysis of these raw data to a national study. The raw data represent the findings of the Individual Student Survey placed on the, classroom observations, and student focus groups. Results of data analysis were compared to the findings of the National Center for Education Statistics (Computer and Internet Use by Children and Adolescents in 2001, Statistical Analysis Report, October, 2003). The raw data reflect the questions asked on the student survey, observations, and focus groups, and are broken down into the following categories: (a) demographics; (b) student assess to computers; (c) student computers activities; (d) observations and focus groups; and (e) comparison to national data. The following tables represent an outline of the questions on the student survey that was distributed at the school. Red denotes statistically significant data. There were a total of 434 students enrolled in grades 6- and a total of 393 students completed the survey during the week it was placed on the LAN. Ofthe 393 students, 351, or 81%, provided complete and usable responses. If students responded yes to questions 5, 1 use a computer only at school, questions 8, 10,12,14,16 and 23 (referring the use of computers at home) were not presented. Table 2 displays aspects of respondents who were in the sixth grade (35%), seventh grade (38%), and eighth grade (27%) who completed the survey. There were no hard copies of the survey given to students. If a student needed assistance in completing the survey a teacher was available to provide it. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 101. 87 Demographics: Survey Results Table 2 Demographics, Question 29, Grade Question 29: Grade All Students Sixth Graders Seventh Graders Eighth Graders Number (N=351) («=125) (n=137) («=97) % 100% 35% 38% 27% Table 3 shows the respondents’ self-reported ethnicity. Seventy-eight percent of the students were African American or Hispanic American and 85% were minorities. Seventy-nine percent of the students were minority (African American and Hispanic American) and 21% were Caucasian and other. This data is consistent with the data reflected on the School Accountability Report (School Report Card, 2000-2001). Table 3 Demographics, Question 30, Ethnicity Question 30: Ethnicity All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American Number (A=351) (n = lll) (n=26) (#i=48) («=166) % 100% 32% 7% 14% 47% Table 4 indicates that there were fewer boys than girls who responded to the survey. Fifty-six percent of the students who completed the survey were female and 44% were male. This data is also consistent with the information on the school’s accountability report. R eproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 102. 88 Table 4 Demographics, Question 31, Gender Question 31: Gender All Students Female Male Number (Ar=351) (n=197) (»=153) % 100% 56% 44% Fifty-eight percent of the respondents reported attending this school for three or more years (see Table 5). Table 5 Demographics, Question 34, Years Attended this School Question 34: How many years have you attended this school? All Students First Year Second Year Third Year Fourth/plus Year Number (N=351) (n=12) (n=76) (n=64) (w=139) % 100% 21% 22% 18% 40% Student Access to Computers: Survey Results Students displayed similar patterns in computer usage at home, school, community centers, and libraries. African-American and Hispanic-American students were most likely to use computers only at school (11% and 7%, respectively, shown in Table 6). However, the 11% of African-Americans who responded that they use computers only at school conflicts with the data presented in the previous answer (question 4) where 95% indicated they use a computer at home. Table 6 shows that 95% of African-American and 93% of Hispanic respondents use computers at home, suggesting that a few respondents may have answered these questions inconsistently. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 103. 89 Table 6 Location of Computer Use, Questions 4 and 5 Question 4 :1use a computer at... All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American Number (N=329) («=111) (»=26) (n=26) (n=166) a. Home 94% 95% 100% 89% 93% b. School 88% 93% 85% 85% 86% c. Community Center, Church, or Temple 12% 17% 8% 12% 8% d. Library 75% 80% 81% 69% 72% Question 5 :1use a computer only at school (If yes, skip questions (8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 23) (N=329) («=111) («=26) («=26) (#i=166) a. Yes 7% 11% 0% 4% 7% b. No 93% 89% 100% 96% 93% The data displayed in Table 7 show that Caucasian students are more likely to have access to desktop computers, color printers, and e-mail at the school than their African-American, Asian-American, or Hispanic-American student counterparts. Caucasian students were granted greater access to desktop computers of their own then other minorities, with a 16 to 26 percentage point difference. These figures are consistent with other reports regarding students’ access to technology in schools. The availability of color printers for all students was low, but Caucasians were more likely to have access. This data mirrors other similar data gather by the USDE and the Benton Foundation on the inequalities of access to computers and the Internet of sectors of American students in and out of our public schools. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 104. 90 Table 7 Types o f Technology Resources Available to Students at School, Question 7 Question 7: What kinds of technology resources do you have available to you at school? All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American Number (A=329) (h=111) (n=26) (n=26) (77=166) a. Personal Desktop Computer 45% 49% 54% 65% 39% b. Personal Laptop Computer 4% 4% 0% 4% 5% c. Computer Printer 97% 96% 100% 100% 96% d. Access to a Color Printer 13% 12% 8% 27% 13% e. Access to Email 88% 88% 92% 100% 86% f. Access to the Internet 94% 95% 92% 92% 95% g. Computers to Borrow for Home Use 10% 14% 4% 4% 9% h. None of the Above 2% 3% 0% 0% 1% i. Other 2% 4% 4% 4% 0% As shown in Table 8, Asian-American respondents were more likely to have access to several forms of technology at home than were other ethnic groups. Nearly all responding Asian-American students had access to desktop computers, e-mail, and Internet at their homes. In contrast, only between 73 and 85% of the other students reported having access to the same forms of technology at home. African-American and Hispanic respondents reported having the least access to e-mail at home 78% and 77% R eproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 105. 91 compared to 96% and 81%, respectively. While almost half (47%) of the students across racial groups reported having high speed access to the Internet, only 38% of the Hispanic students reported having the same access. Table 8 Types o f Technology Resources Available to Students at Home, Question 8 Question 8: What kinds of technology resources do you have available to you at home? All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American Number (N=329) (n=l 11) (n=26) (n=26) (n=166) a. Telephone in Student’s Room 51% 50% 65% 54% 49% b. Easy Access to Photocopy 40 36 65 54 36 c. A Fax Machine 37 48 50 35 28 d. A Desktop Computer for Student’s Use 76 75 96 81 73 e. A Laptop for Student’s Use 25 25 35 23 24 f. A Computer Printer 84 81 96 96 82 g. Access to a Color Printer 79 74 89 92 80 h. Access to Email 79 78 96 81 77 i. Access to the Internet 80 78 100 85 77 j. High Speed Internet Access 47 57 50 54 38 k. Access to the School’s Computer Network 18 24 8 15 16 (table continues) Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 106. 92 Question 8: What kinds of technology resources do you have available to you at home? All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American 1. Access to the Internet from Home Through a School Connection 15 23 8 8 11 m. None of the Above 3 5 0 0 2 n. Other 1 2 0 0 0 All responding students reported a comparable level of Internet access at school. Similarly, over 80% of the students across ethnicities reported using the Internet at home. At home, Asian-American and Caucasian student respondents were the most likely to have access to the Internet (see Table 9). Table 9 Access to the Internet, Questions 9 and 10 Question 9 :1use the internet at School All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American (N=329) («=111) (n=26) (n=26) («=166) a. Yes 95% 94% 92% 96% 96% b. No 5% 6% 8% 4% 4% Question 10:1use the internet at Home All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American (N=329) (n = lll) (n=26) (n=26) (n=166) a. Yes 81% 79% 96% 85% 80% b. No 19% 21% 4% 15% 20% R eproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 107. 93 Types o f Computer Activities: Survey Results Overall, all respondents check their e-mail at school at least once a month. Over two of five (44%) students check their e-mail on a weekly basis. At least two of five (40%) students from every ethnic group check their e-mail at home on a daily basis, suggesting that students prefer to use e-mail programs at home rather than at school. Despite the ready access that most of the students have to the Internet at home, many of them never check their e-mail at home. Overall, one in four (25%) students either checks their e-mail elsewhere or do not use e-mail (see Table 10). Table 10 Frequency with Which Students Check Email, Questions 11 and 12 Question 11:1 check All African- Asian- Caucasian/ Hispanic- my e-mail at school Students American American White American Number (7V=321) (n=107) («=25) («=26) («=163) a. Daily 13% 15% 4% 23% 12% b. Weekly 44% 51% 60% 35% 39% c. Monthly 28% 23% 28% 27% 31% d. Never 15% 11% 8% 15% 19% Question 12:1check All African- Asian- Caucasian/ Hispanic- my e-mail at home Students American American White American Number (N=297) («=96) («=25) (n=25) (n=151) a. Daily 45% 48% 48% 40% 44% b. Weekly 23% 21% 32% 20% 24% c. Monthly 7% 7% 4% 8% 7% d. Never 25% 24% 16% 32% 26% Over seven often (73%) surveyed students reported browsing the web at least once a week at school. This trend is also reflected among students of different ethnic groups: African-Americans at 73%, Asian-Americans at 80%, Caucasians at 72%, and Hispanic-Americans at 72%. Overall, about one in ten (9%) of the respondents reported Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 108. 94 never checking their e-mail at school. Compared to students who browse the web daily at school, nearly twice as many students reported browsing the web daily at home. Also, in comparison to data presented in Table 7, there was a sizable increase in the percentage of Caucasian and Hispanic-American students who reported that they never browse the web at home (16% and 17%, respectively). Table 11 Frequency with Which Students Browse the Web, Questions 13 and 14 Question 13:1 browse the World Wide Web at school All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American (A=320) («=107) (*=25) («=26) (ft=162) a. Daily 24% 26% 24% 31% 21% b. Weekly 49% 47% 56% 42% 51% c. Monthly 18% 16% 16% 23% 19% d. Never 9% 11% 4% 4% 10% Question 14:1browse the World Wide Web at home All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American Number (A=297) («=96) (ti=25) (n=25) («=151) a. Daily 52% 53% 64% 60% 48% b. Weekly 25% 23% 24% 16% 27% c. Monthly 9% 10% 12% 8% 8% d. Never 15% 14% 0% 16% 17% As shown in Table 12, few students reported using chat rooms or newsgroups at school, while nearly half (44%) reported never using chat rooms or newsgroups at home. Table 11 shows that students are much more willing to participate in these activities at home than at school. Overall, over one-third (37%) of the responding students use chat rooms or newsgroups at least weekly. R eproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 109. 95 Table 12 Frequency with Which Students use Chat Rooms or Newsgroups, Questions 15 and 16 Question 15:1use chat rooms or newsgroups at school All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American Number (A=319) (71=107) (/i=25) (ti=26) (77= 161) a. Daily 3% 5% 0% 8% 2% b. Weekly 6 7 4 4 6 c. Monthly 10 8 24 8 9 d. Never 82 81 72 81 83 Question 16:1use chat rooms or newsgroups at home All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American Number (N=296) (n=96) (71=25) (71=25) (77 = 150) a. Daily 20% 18% 20% 8% 23% b. Weekly 17 19 24 24 13 c. Monthly 20 17 28 12 21 d. Never 44 47 28 56 43 While one in five (20%) students overall felt that Excel and other Spreadsheet programs were very useful or essential, few (9%) Hispanic-American students felt the same way. Nine percent of all students felt that newsgroups were very useful or essential, while none of the surveyed Asian American students felt that newsgroups were either. Overall, 18% of students felt that chat rooms were very useful or essential. Twenty-eight percent of the surveyed Asian American students replied that chat rooms were useful while only four percent of the Caucasian students felt the same. Online, four of every five (80%) students surveyed felt that the Internet, the World Wide Web, and e-mail were either very useful or essential. In comparison, less than 18% of the surveyed students felt that chat rooms, news groups, or list serves were comparably useful (see Table 13). Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 110. 96 Table 13 Usefulness o fDifferent Programs, Questions 20 Question 20: How useful is each ofthe following programs / software for completing projects? All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American a. Word Processing (7V=383) («=111) (#i=25) (#i=25) (#i=160) Not Useful 1% 2% 4% 0% 1% Slightly Useful 7% 7% 4% 0% 10% Moderately Useful 13% 13% 12% 4% 15% Very Useful 53% 52% 52% 36% 53% Essential 26% 26% 28% 60% 21% b. PowerPoint (iV=383) («=111) (#i=25) (#i=25) (#i=160) Not Useful 6% 6% 4% 12% 6% Slightly Useful 23% 20% 28% 20% 25% Moderately Useful 29% 23% 32% 20% 33% Very Useful 33% 28% 28% 32% 30% Essential 10% 14% 8% 16% 6% c. Excel/Spreadsheets (V=383) (n=lll) (##=25) (##=25) (#i=160) Not Useful 21% 24% 16% 24% 23% Slightly Useful 35% 34% 28% 36% 34% Moderately Useful 24% 18% 40% 24% 18% Very Useful 18% 22% 16% 12% 7% Essential 2% 2% 0% 4% 2% d. Newsgroups (V=383) (w=lll) (#i=25) (#z=25) (#i=160) Not Useful 44% 43% 52% 48% 40% Slightly Useful 31% 30% 12% 20% 34% Moderately Useful 17% 16% 36% 20% 18% Very Useful 8% 10% 0% 12% 7% Essential 1% 1% 0% 0% 2% e. Chat Rooms (V=382) (#1=110) (#i=25) (#i=25) (#i=160) Not Useful 54% 61% 28% 72% 49% Slightly Useful 17% 11% 36% 12% 20% Moderately Useful 12% 15% 8% 12% 13% Very Useful 11% 6% 16% 4% 11% Essential 7% 7% 12% 0% 8% f. Internet, WWW, E- ail (N=382) (#i=110) (#1=25) (#1=25) (#i=160) (table continues) Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 111. 97 Question 20: How useful is each of the following programs / software for completing projects? All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American Not Useful 3% 4% 0% 0% 3% Slightly Useful 4% 2% 4% 0% 6% Moderately Useful 13% 13% 4% 12% 15% Very Useful 43% 46% 44% 44% 46% Essential 37% 36% 48% 44% 31% g. List serve (N=382) (n=110) (n=25) (n=25) (n=160) Not Useful 40% 41% 36% 36% 43% Slightly Useful 28% 23% 28% 12% 33% Moderately Useful 20% 18% 32% 36% 14% Very Useful 11% 16% 4% 16% 9% Essential 2% 3% 0% 0% 7% World Wide Web Browsers were the most frequently used programs in all classrooms (72% of the students reported using a web browser at least three times a week), followed by word processing programs, which over one-half (57%) of the respondents said they used at least three times a week. Overall, most of the responding students displayed similar distributions of software usage at school across all ethnicities. An exception to this trend was found in African-American usage of word processors at school. Thirty-two percent of the respondents reported using word processors over 10 times a week. Graphic software was reported as the least used software in school. Fifty percent of all the respondents reported never using graphic software during the week. The use of spreadsheets or database programs was frequently used at school by all groups. In comparison, only 4% of responding Asian-American students reported using word processors at school with such frequency (see Table 14). Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 112. 98 Table 14 Number o f Times per Week Software is Used at School, Question 22 Question 22: For each of the following types of software, please indicate how many times you use that software in a week in ANY class All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American Number (A=319) («=107) (n=26) (n=24) (#i=162) Skill Building (1Larson’s Math, STAR, Accelerated Reader, Sleek, etc.) No times per week 18% 16% 19% 25% 17% 1-2 times per week 44% 41% 58% 33% 45% 3-9 times per week 31% 34% 19% 29% 32% 10+ times per week 7% 9% 4% 13% 6% Simulations or exploratory games No times per week 38% 36% 40% 29% 40% 1-2 times per week 42% 41% 36% 50% 43% 3-9 times per week 14% 15% 20% 13% 12% 10+ times per week 6% 8% 4% 8% 4% Encyclopedias or Other References on CD-Rom No times per week 40% 35% 32% 38% 46% 1-2 times per week 34% 34% 48% 33% 32% 3-9 times per week 19% 21% 16% 25% 18% 10+ times per week 7% 11% 4% 4% 4% Word Processing (ie., MS Word) No times per week 10% 10% 8% 8% 11% 1-2 times per week 33% 26% 48% 29% 35% 3-9 times per week 38% 32% 40% 46% 41% 10+ times per week 19% 32% 4% 17% 12% Software for Making Presentations (i.e., PowerPoint) No times per week 21% 17% 16% 25% 23% 1-2 times per week 51% 42% 68% 46% 55% 3-9 times per week 21% 27% 16% 17% 18% 10+ times per week 8% 14% 0% 13% 4% Grap lies (ie., PhotoShop) No times per week 57% 51% 60% 63% 60% 1-2 times per week 24% 25% 20% 8% 26% 3-9 times per week 14% 17% 20% 17% 11% 10+ times per week 5% 7% 0% 13% 4% Spreadsheets or database programs (ie., MS Excel, etc.) No times per week 50% 51% 48% 38% 52% <table continues) Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 113. 99 Question 22: For each of the following types of software, please indicate how many times you use that software in a week in ANY class All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American 1-2 times per week 40% 36% 44% 50% 41% 3-9 times per week 8% 10% 8% 8% 6% 10+ times per week 2% 3% 0% 4% 1% Multimedia Programs (ie., HyperStudio) No times per week 77% 73% 76% 71% 81% 1-2 times per week 16% 19% 12% 25% 13% 3-9 times per week 6% 7% 12% 0% 5% 10+ times per week 2% 2% 0% 4% 1% World Wide Web Browser (ie., > etscape / MS Explorer) No times per week 6% 4% 0% 4% 9% 1-2 times per week 22% 23% 20% 17% 23% 3-9 times per week 39% 33% 60% 42% 38% 10+ times per week 33% 41% 20% 38% 29% Electronic Mail (e-mail) No times per week 21% 16% 8% 8% 28% 1-2 times per week 40% 29% 60% 42% 45% 3-9 times per week 25% 33% 24% 25% 19% 10+ times per week 14% 22% 8% 25% 9% At home, students also reported using web browsers and word processors more often than any other programs. Over three-quarters (77%) reported using web browsers at least three times a week, whereas over two-thirds (67%) use word processors with similar frequencies. At home, 65% of responding students also use e-mail programs at least three times a week. African-American respondents reported using several types of programs at home more often than their counterparts. African-Americans reported using presentation software, graphics software, and multimedia programs more frequently than other students (see Table 15). Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 114. 1 0 0 Table 15 Number o f Times per Week Software is Used at Home, Questions 23 Question 23: For each of the following types of software, please indicate how many times you use that software in a week at HOME. All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American (A -292) (n=95) (/i=25) (»=23) (n=149) Skill Building and Practice (Drills) No times per week 75% 69% 81% 65% 79% 1-2 times per week 15% 14% 12% 30% 14% 3-9 times per week 6% 12% 8% 4% 3% 10+ times per week 4% 6% 0% 0% 3% Simulations or exploratory games No times per week 25% 17% 28% 30% 30% 1-2 times per week 20% 18% 24% 17% 20% 3-9 times per week 25% 27% 28% 35% 22% 10+ times per week 30% 38% 20% 17% 28% Encyclopedias and other references on CD-Rom No times per week 29% 25% 24% 26% 32% 1-2 times per week 34% 32% 32% 39% 35% 3-9 times per week 24% 27% 32% 26% 20% 10+ times per week 13% 16% 12% 9% 13% Word Processing (ie., MS Word) No times per week 14% 12% 20% 4% 15% 1-2 times per week 20% 12% 16% 26% 25% 3-9 times per week 35% 30% 40% 39% 37% 10+ times per week 32% 47% 24% 30% 23% Software for making presentations (ie., PowerPoint No times per week 45% 35% 44% 39% 53% 1-2 times per week 26% 23% 28% 35% 22% 3-9 times per week 16% 25% 12% 4% 18% 10+ times per week 13% 17% 16% 22% 7% Graphics - oriented printing (e.g., Prints lOp No times per week 47% 36% 68% 61% 71% 1-2 times per week 22% 22% 28% 17% 20% 3-9 times per week 21% 27% 0% 17% 6% 10+ times per week 10% 15% 4% 4% 3% (table continues) Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 115. 101 Question 23: For each of the following types of software, please indicate how many times you use that software in a week at HOME. All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American Spreadsheets or Database programs (ie., MS Exce , MS Access) No times per week 67% 59% 76% 70% 77% 1-2 times per week 22% 23% 12% 22% 13% 3-9 times per week 8% 15% 4% 4% 3% 10+ times per week 3% 3% 8% 4% 7% Multimedia Program (ie., HyperStudio) No times per week 73% 65% 76% 78% 77% 1-2 times per week 15% 19% 12% 17% 13% 3-9 times per week 6% 11% 4% 4% 3% 10+ times per week 6% 5% 8% 0% 7% World Wide Web Browser (ie., Netscape / MS Explorer) No times per week 12% 11% 4% 13% 15% 1-2 times per week 10% 8% 4% 9% 13% 3-9 times per week 24% 22% 40% 22% 23% 10+ times per week 53% 59% 52% 57% 49% Electronic Mail (e-mail) No times per week 23% 22% 16% 30% 23% 1-2 times per week 13% 15% 12% 9% 13% 3-9 times per week 23% 15% 36% 22% 26% 10+ times per week 42% 48% 36% 39% 39% For schoolwork, students were most likely to use their computers to search for data online or to retrieve pictures online (73% and 64% of responding students reported doing so at least on a weekly basis). A sizable percentage also uses their computers to e- mail friends or write reports (53% and 44%, respectively, reported doing so on a weekly basis). No more than 13% of students reported sending cards over the Internet, e-mailing parents, using multimedia equipment, or exchanging computer files more than once a week. Technology use for schoolwork demonstrated similar trends across all four ethnic sub-groups (see Table 16). Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 116. 10 2 Table 16 Frequency and Methods with which Technology is Usedfor School Preparation, Question 24 Question 24: In which of these ways do you use computers to prepare for your classes or other activities? I use computers to... All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American Number (N=318) («=109) (77=24) (77=25) (77 = 160) Write Letters or Reports Do Not Use 3% 6% 0% 0% 3% Occasionally 52% 38% 63% 52% 61% Weekly 22% 33% 13% 20% 17% More Often 22% 24% 25% 28% 20% Emailing friends Do Not Use 16% 16% 4% 12% 19% Occasionally 32% 29% 33% 36% 33% Weekly 26% 22% 38% 24% 26% More Often 27% 33% 25% 28% 23% Send cards over the internet Do Not Use 57% 53% 50% 44% 63% Occasionally 30% 30% 38% 40% 27% Weekly 8% 7% 8% 12% 8% More Often 5% 10% 4% 4% 3% Emailing my parents Do Not Use 59% 47% 67% 4% 68% Occasionally 29% 36% 29% 44% 21% Weekly 8% 8% 4% 8% 8% More Often 5% 9% 0% 4% 3% Use the Internet to search for data information and for a project Do Not Use 2% 3% 0% 4% 1% Occasionally 25% 21% 29% 20% 29% Weekly 29% 23% 25% 40% 31% More Often 44% 53% 46% 36% 39% Retrieving Pictures from the Internet Do Not Use 3% 0% 4% 6% 4% Occasionally 33% 33% 40% 38% 36% Weekly 22% 33% 24% 27% 26% More Often 42% 33% 32% 29% 34% (table continues) Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 117. 103 Question 24: In which of these ways do you use computers to prepare for your classes or other activities? I use computers to... All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American Use Camcorders, digita cameras, or scanners to prepare for a class Do Not Use 65% 61% 58% 60% 69% Occasionally 23% 23% 33% 24% 21% Weekly 5% 7% 8% 4% 4% More Often 7% 9% 0% 12% 6% Exchanging computer files with others Do Not Use 64% 62% 71% 44% 67% Occasionally 28% 29% 21% 40% 26% Weekly 5% 6% 4% 8% 5% More Often 4% 4% 4% 8% 3% Observations and Student Interviews The investigator visited and observed students in all 20 classrooms that served students in sixth to eighth grade, as well as the computer lab and multimedia center (22 formal visits). The investigator spent over three months documenting student activities in these classes with the Student Observation Form (informal visits, see Appendix J). Nearly all the students were observed using a Word Processing software program in class with no assistance from either the teacher or the aide. Regardless of their ethnicity, over 90% of the students demonstrated intermediate or higher skill level in using a Word Processing software program. The investigator observed only 60 students using a spreadsheet software program. These students were working in groups of three to complete a math project. African-American and Hispanic-American students were observed using skill-building programs at a higher rate then their White and Asian counterparts. The investigator observed only a small number of students using a PowerPoint program («=57), but during the focus groups several students brought their Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 118. 104 PowerPoint projects. Most of these projects were animated with sound and graphics and the students had received a letter grade ofA from their teachers. Table 17 Classroom Observation o fStudents Using Technology Observations All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American a. Writing with a Word Processing (N=192) («=78) («=16) (>7=21) (n=77) Beginner 6% 14% 0% 11% 18% Intermediate 61% 56% 63% 58% 61% Advanced 32% 30% 34% 31% 28% b. Using a Spreadsheet (N=60) (n=23) (n=11) (>7=10) (n=16) No levels documented 100% 38% 18% 17% 27% c. Drill/practice programs/tutorials (7V=132) (n=43) (n=16) (>7 =11) (n=62) No levels documented 33% 12% 8% 47% d. Graphics/ PowerPoint presentation (N=57) (n=21) (w=4) (>7=7) (n=25) Beginner 25% 19% 25% 28% 28% Intermediate 26% 29% 50% 28% 20% Advanced 49% 52% 25% 43% 52% e. Building Web Pages (N=5) (»=1) («=1) («=3) (»=0) Beginner 40% 100% 0% 30% 0% Intermediate 60% 0% 100% 70% 0% Advanced 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% f. Constructing Hypermedia/Multi media (AM)) (n=0) (n=0) (>7=0) (n=0) Beginner 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% Intermediate 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% Advanced 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% g. Searching the Internet (N=148) (n=54) (n=15) (>7 = 11) (n=68) Beginner 26% 34% 20% 10% 25% Intermediate 47% 34% 67% 72% 49% Advanced 27% 32% 13% 18% 27% (table continues) Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 119. 105 Observations All Students African- American Asian- American Caucasian/ White Hispanic- American h. Emailing (iV=38) (n=5) (n=9) (n=16) (n=8) No levels documented 100% 13% 24% 42% 21% i. Chat/Instant Messaging (N=0) («=0) («=0) (n=0) («=0) Beginner 0% 0% 0% 6% 0% Intermediate 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% Advanced 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% j. Web Board/newsgroup (N=0) (n=0) (n=0) (n=0) (n=0) Beginner 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% Intermediate 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% Advanced 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% The students who participated in the interview sessions were also the students who were observed building web pages in class. This was a very small number (n -5). No students were observed using multimedia but several teachers did use several multimedia techniques in the instructional program. All students at this school have access to the Internet and have a student e-mail account. Regardless of ethnicity, students had access to demonstrated good skills in the use of the Internet. Very few students were observed using e-mail in their classes or in labs. Even though responses on the survey and students in the focus groups indicated use of chat groups and instant messaging at home, no students were observed using these applications in school because these activities are blocked on the LAN. The same was true for Web Board and newsgroups. In student interviews, students indicated that they used their e-mail accounts at lunch and break because most of the teachers will not let them use e-mail during class. Several students indicated that the teachers let them e-mail their parents, elected officers, and friends. During the student focus groups the following questions were discussed: Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 120. 106 1. Imagine what you would do without computers. 2. How do computers impact your world now? What do you see as the fiiture of computers in your life? In your career? In your home? 3. What do you like about having a lot of technology at school? 4. Where do you use the computer and the Internet the most (in homeroom, in English class, Math class, etc.)? 5. Do you use technology at home? Describe. 6. Do you feel you have an advantage over your other friends who do not have this much access to technology at their schools? 7. How do you feel technology has changed your work habits, study skills, school attendance? 8. Describe/show U.S. some of the work/projects you do on the computer. This investigator permitted students to express freely their technology experiences and documented the following: None ofthe students could imagine what they would do without computers. They felt that computers were ubiquitous in the world. Over 75% (30 of 40 students interviewed), regardless of ethnicity, said they had no problem accessing a computer at home or school any day. Ten of the students, six African American and four Hispanic, indicated that they did not have access to a computer or the Internet at home but were able to use a friend's or relative's computer frequently. During interview sessions, students were permitted to share their projects with the investigator and each other. A few students presented a word processed report but most had PowerPoint presentations with animation, videos, graphics, and sound. One student presented a web page developed Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 121. 107 with a parent. All of the students demonstrated the ability to execute the full functions of the Office systems (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel) with varying degrees of proficiency. Classroom observations revealed that students willingly help each other use technology to produce their projects. In their projects, there was evidence of their ability to retrieve images and sound from the web and place them into their projects. All students expressed the feeling that they had an advantage over their friends that attended other schools with fewer computers but complained that several times during week the server had been down. They added that it happens only once or twice a month and not for very long (an hour or two). They also indicated that their parents had selected this school for them because of access to computers. They stated that they rarely missed school and completed most of their assignments on the computer. Several of the students indicated that many times they would e-mail their homework from home to their school e-mail address so as not to lose or misplace the assignment. Everyone said that printing assignments at school was not a problem since there are printers in each cluster area. Most complained that they did not have enough time to browse the web at school for information for assignments or just for fun. When describing the skill building/ simulations programs on the LAN, several students indicated that they had better simulations games at home. Only one student of the 40 students in the interview sessions indicated interest in a career in technology. Comparison to National Data In this study the investigator was unable to ascertain socioeconomic status of the students responding to the survey. School officials reported that 40% of the students qualified to receive free- or reduced-price lunches. When gender was considered, there Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 122. 108 was no difference is access. In fact, there were more girls (56%) enrolled in the school then boys (44%), which matches national data. The key demographic variable that surrounded this study was race. Approximately 80% of the students at this school were African American or Hispanic. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that race/ethnicity is one of the characteristics that indicate a disparity in the use of computers and the Internet. Research question one asked what percentage of the students at the school use computers and the Internet. Ninety-four percent of students indicated they had access to computers at school and 88% indicated they had access to the Internet (see Table 17). A comparison to national survey data indicated that, overall, students at this school use both computers and the Internet at a higher rate then students nationwide. Overall, 90% or more of the students studied and across the United States ofAmerica have access to computers at school. Use of the Internet at school is significantly higher at this school than in the nation. Eighty-eight percent of the students at this school reported having access to the Internet, while only 59% of students nationally have access to the Internet at school. This is evidence of the importance of schools being connected to the Internet. ■ School □ NCES 2003 Access to Computer Access to Internet Figure 9: All Students Access to Computers and the Internet (Questions 4, 9 and 10 vs. NCES 2003, p.3). Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 123. 109 Research questions two asked where students use computers and the Internet. An analysis of the data indicates that students on the NCES survey demonstrated a greater percentage using computers at school than at home (see Figures 9 and 10). 100 ■ Survey □ NCES 2003 All S tudents African-American Asian-American C aucasian/W hite Hispanic-American Figure 10: Location of Computer Use at Home (Questions 4 and 5 vs. NCES 2003, p. 12). While 94% of the students at this school reported having access to a computer at home, the national data was significantly lower, at 65%. This was particularly true when race was considered. Large racial differences exist when one compares access at home. Where Asian and White students reported 76% and 77%, respectively, that they use a computer at home, only 41% of African American and Hispanic students report using computers at home. The rate of computer use for these groups is 54 percentage points lower than for Asian students and 45 percentage points lower than for White students. These rates of use at home are significantly lower than for students from this one school and for their Asian and White counterparts. The Digital Divide exists for these students. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 124. 110 85 84 ■ Survey □ NCES 2003 All S tudents African-American Asian-American Caucasian/W hite H ispanic-Am erican Figure 11: Location of Computer Use at School (Questions 4 and 5 vs. NCES 2003, p. 12). Figure 11 shows computer use rates at school by race/ethnicity. Where there are small differences, computer access at school is consistently higher for African American and Hispanic students. These findings also suggest that access to computers at school is the fundamental source of use for many minority students. 100 80 <V S' 60 <U <v Cl. 40 20 42- 17 42- ■ Survey □ NCES 2003 All S tud ents African-Am erican Asian-American C aucasian/W hite Hispanic-Am erican Figure 12: Location of Computer Use at Community Center (Questions 4 and 5 vs. NCES 2003, p.23). Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 125. I ll When reviewing other venues for the use of computers by students, the school survey revealed that more students use computers at community centers and the library than reported in the national survey (see Figures 12 andl3). All race/ethnicity groups reported a higher rate of using computers at community centers and libraries then the national norm. Libraries and community centers appear to complement access offered to students outside of school. 1 0 0 All Students African-American Asian-American Caucasian/White Hispanic-American Figure 13: Location of Computer Use at Library (Questions 4 and 5 vs. NCES 2003, p.23). There were no detectable race/ethnicity differences in rate of Internet access (see Figure 14). At this school, all students have Internet accounts with e-mail. If a student did not have access, it could be due to a violation of the acceptable use policy. The rate of Internet access reported on the national survey at schools was considerable lower for all students regardless of race/ethnicity. The rate of Internet use for all students was 64 percentage points lower than the students at this school. Asian and White student rates Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 126. 112 were even lower, at 81% and 69%, respectively. This huge discrepancy supports research that addresses the need for all public school classrooms to be connected to the Internet. ■ Survey □ NCES 2003 All S tudents African-American Asian-American Caucasian/W hite Hispanic- American Figure 14 Access to the Internet at Home (Questions 9 and 10 vs. NCES 2003, p.26). At home, both surveys presented Asian-American and White students as the most likely to have access to the Internet at home (see Figure 14). The comparison shows that African-American (49%) and Hispanic-American (48%) students were 15 percentage points or more below their Asian (84%) and White (69%) counterparts in having access to the Internet at home. This data is consistent across demographic and geographic bounding as reported in Fall Though the Net (2000). The level of Internet access at home continues to be a significant divide. At this school, the comparison data reflects a slightly less gap between racial groups then in the national survey. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 127. 113 ■ Survey □ NCES 2003 All S tudents African-American Asian-American Caucasian/W hite Hispanic-American Figure 15: Access to the Internet at School (Questions 9 and 10 vs. NCES 2003, p.26). Research question three asked in what kind of computer activities students engage. Computers and the Internet use provide an array of activities for students. From finding information on the web, to communicating though e-mail, to completing homework, the Internet supports a wide range of activities. As shown in Figure 16 and 17, from 79 to 88% of students at the school had access to e-mail at home and at school. There are significant differences in the use of e-mail by race/ethnicity in the general population. Again, African American and Hispanic students were far below their Asian and White counterparts in the use of e-mail at home. Only 19 of African Americans and 15% of Hispanic students indicated that they had access to e-mail at home (Figure 16) while 44% and 43% of Asian and White students, respectively, indicated that they had access to e-mail at home. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 128. 114 ■ Survey □ NCES 2003 All Students African-American Asian-American Caucasian/White Hispanic-American Figure 16: Access to Email at Home (Questions 7 and 8 vs. NCES 2003, p. 16). Access to e-mail at school was consistently higher for all groups (see Figure 17). The data show that although African American and Hispanic students have less access to e-mail at school, the percentage is significantly higher than home access. 100 ■ Survey □ NCES 2003 All S tudents African-American Asian-American Caucasian/W hite Hispanic- American Figure 17: Access to Email at School (Questions 7 and 8 vs. NCES 2003, p.34). World Wide Web Browsers were the most frequently used programs in all classrooms (72% of the students reported using a web browser at least three times a week) followed by word processing programs, wherein over one-half (57%) of the Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 129. 115 respondents stated that they used the programs at least three times a week. Overall, most of the students displayed similar distributions of software usage at school across all ethnicities. An exception of this trend was found in African-American usage of word processors at school. Thirty-two percent ofthe students reported using word processors over 10 times a week. In comparison, only 4% of Asian students reported using word processors at school with such frequency. The investigator found that 86% of the students studied use word processing at home, compared to 50% nationally. There was no significant divide when looking at the data along race/ethnicity (see Figure 18). All S tu d en ts A frican-A m erican A sian-A m erican Caucasian/W hite H ispanic-A m erican Figure 18: Use of Word Processing at Home (Question 23 vs. NCES 2003, p. 19). This study and national data were essentially the same with regard to the use of other software at home. Students at the study site indicated higher use at home than students nationwide. All race/ethnicity groups indicated a low use of graphic software except for African American students, who responded with a higher (64%, compared to 32% Asian American, 39% Whites, and 29% Hispanic American) use at home on the national survey (see Figure 19). The use of spreadsheet software by African American Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 130. 116 students was 41%, which was also significantly higher then their counterparts, at 24% by Asian American, 30% by Whites, and 23% by Hispanic Americans (see Figure 20). 100 80 <D S' 604 _ j v v c. <v S 40Q . 20 0 All Students African-American Asian-American Caucasian/White Hispanic-American Figure 19: Use of Graphics Software at Home (Questions 23 vs. NCES 2003, p. 19). 100 80 All S tu d en ts African-Am erican Asian-A m erican C aucasian/W hite Hispanic- American Figure 20: Use of Spreadsheet Software at Home (Questions 23 vs. NCES 2003, p. 19). Research question four addressed whether the use of computers and the Internet related to demographic characteristics such as race, gender, or other factors. When gender was considered, there was no difference is access. In fact, there were more girls (56%) enrolled in this school then boys (44%), which matches the national data. Figure 21 shows computer use by gender, with no significant difference in access. A close look at □ NCES 2003 R eproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 131. 117 Figure 22 shows that access to the Internet is significantly higher at this school site by both female and male students than it is nationally. ■ School □ NCES 2003 Female Male Figure 21: All Students Access to Computers by Gender (Questions 4, 8, 9 and 31 vs. NCES 2003, p.4). ■ School □ NCES 2003 Fem ale Male Figure 22: All Students Access to Internet by Gender (Questions 4, 8, 9 and 31 vs. NCES 2003, p.4). The key demographic variable that surrounded this study was race. Since the investigator could not collect data related to socioeconomic status or parent’s educational level, the differences were among racial lines. Forty percent of the students at this school Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 132. 118 qualified for free- or reduced-price lunches and therefore were at the poverty level. In all but one case (graphic software use by White students), students had access to the Internet more at school than at home. Use at school exceeds sixty percentage points at this school compared to the national survey. While 94% of the students at this school reported having access to a computer at home, the national data were significantly lower, at 65%. This was particularly true when race was considered. Large racial differences exist when one compares access at home. Where Asian and White students reported 76% and 77%, respectively, only 41% of the African American and Hispanic students reported use of computers at home. The rate of computer use for these groups is 54 percentage points lower than Asian students and 45 percentage points lower than White students. These rates of use at home are significantly lower then the students from this one school and significantly lower then their Asian and White counterparts. The Digital Divide exists for these students. At home, both surveys presented Asian-American and White students as most likely to have access to the Internet (see Figure 15). The comparison shows that African-American and Hispanic-American students were 15 percentage points or more below their Asian and White counterparts in having access to the Internet at home. Summary In summary, a significant amount of data was collected to answer the research questions. The investigator triangulated data from multiple sources to complete a descriptive case study. There are significant demographic race/ethnicity differences in the use of information technologies. Triangulation of student surveys, student focus groups, observations, and data analysis indicated significant findings which are summarized in Chapter 5: Summary, Conclusions, and Recommendations. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 133. 119 Chapter 5 Summary, Conclusions, and Recommendations Introduction In this chapter the investigator presents a brief summary of the study, summarizes the findings of each research question, discusses the strengths and limitations of the study, probes both the theoretical and practical implications of the study, elaborates on the conclusions drawn from the data analysis, and offers recommendations for future research. As noted in the methodology chapter, the purpose of this study was to explore the use of technology and the Internet by students in one school. Through this examination, this investigator hoped to determine if access at school creates the Digital Divide, by favoring students in technology-rich schools over those in the general population. The investigator created and validated a survey and students were interviewed in order to guide the data collection in this study. Much research literature exists on the role that race and income have on the Digital Divide. Those interpreting existing research literature indicate that direct access to the Internet, which is not typically found among lower socio-economic ethnic groups, increases people’s overall ability to function in the global economy. In fact, the Digital Divide gap goes well beyond a choice made by an individual or household; rather, it reflects deeper problems that directly relate to access to infrastructures in education, business, and to economic opportunities. One of the most significant aspects of the effort to bridge the Digital Divide is the role schools can play and have played. Hoffman & Novak (1998) indicate that white Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 134. 120 students are much more likely than African American students to have used the Web at locations other than home, school or work, regardless of whether there is a computer at home. Access and the quality of access is a critical issue to use. In several research studies (Hoffman, et al, Becker, et al, Leigh), race always matters. This study adds to the body of research by examining the following research questions: 1. Which students at the school use computers and the Internet? 2. Where do the students use computers and the Internet? 3. In what kind of computer activities do these students engage? 4. Is the use by students related to demographic characteristics such as race/ethnicity, gender, or other factors? The investigator created an organizational framework based on a review of literature and teacher, administrator, and parent focus groups to guide this descriptive study. The framework also served as a guide for developing the student technology survey instrument and for analyzing content of the observation data and questions addressed in student interview sessions. Participants in this study were the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders at one school. The data obtained were rich and provided ample information to achieve successfully the purpose of this study. Limitations of the Study Methods used in this study were reviewed and evaluated for possible limitations. The potential for schools to play an active part in bridging the Digital Divide was determined by this descriptive study of one highly technological school. The school has Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 135. 121 its own LAN and is connected to the WAN of the school district. This school, with 1200 students and 1300 networked computers, is not typical of most public schools in the United States. Other highly technological schools are not included in this study. The study is based on comparing and analyzing national statistics to data collected at one school. The school is part of an urban school district and all socio-economic levels are represented in the school population; however, a majority of students are from minority groups. The investigator did not have the ability to ascertain the income level of the students, which research shows is an important factor in technological access. Therefore, translation to other schools and students in general are not known. Readers are urged to be cautious in the extent to which generalizations are made from the findings of this study. Research Question 1: Which Students at this School use Computers and the Internet? Review offindings. A review of the literature revealed large disparities in the number of computers per public school student, greater racial/ethnic minority enrollments having less use of computers and the Internet. National data revealed that African Americans and Hispanic Americans appeared to be substantially disadvantaged in terms of at-school access to computers and the Internet. Triangulation of data from the student survey, student interviews, and observations showed that all students at the study site used computers and the Internet on a daily basis regardless of gender or ethnicity. The availability of computers and the Internet made it more likely that all the students would participate compared to traditional schools where there are fewer computers. Technology was infused into the instructional Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 136. 122 program to support learning and student use of computers to conduct research and to develop projects. Students said that their parents had selected this school because of the opportunity to use technology regularly. All of the students interviewed stated that classrooms and the computer labs are accessible during lunch and recess daily. They indicated that this was the time when they most frequently were able to log on to the Internet and learn independently. The investigator observed students using computers and the Internet throughout the school day. Few students had any difficulty logging on, and if they did have problems, their peers were quick to assist them. They used most of their computer time to complete individual assignments with little or no direct instruction from a teacher. It should be noted that, even though some students self-reported that they did not have access to a computer or the Internet at school, to complete the student survey they needed to have access. No hardcopies of the survey were given to students. Conclusion 1. All students at this school, regardless of ethnicity, participate in the direct use of computers and the Internet. Access to technologies for these students is far above the national average, where the literature indicates that there is one computer for every 10 students in public schools. This school had a ratio of 1:1 computer to every student, thereby providing extraordinarily ability for all students to participate. In addition to access, this public school provided powerful ways for students to engage in producing computer- and Internet-generated projects. Technology was woven into everyday activities of students and not provided as a reward or extracurricular activity. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 137. 123 Conclusion 2. Students were actively engaged in using the computers every day at school where they were provided access during class time and the ability to go into classrooms or computer labs during recess and lunch. Students’ reliance on technology was indicated by access in all the regular classroom settings and in computer labs. There was no pull-out program for technology instruction. All classes, thereby all students, were scheduled for computer lab time. Research Question 2: Where do the Students use Computers and the Internet? Review o ffindings. A review of the data showed similar patterns in computer usage of the students at this school. The number of students who have access to a computer or who have access to the Internet, whether from school, home, or other places, was significantly higher at this school than national figures. Ninety-four percent of the students at this school indicated that they had access to computers at home and 88% indicated that they had access at school. Again, it should be noted that all the students who completed the survey had access to a computer and the Internet at school. Over 48% of the students had attended this school for three or more years. African American and Hispanic students were less likely to report having access to the Internet at home than their White or Asian counterparts, but all had significantly higher access when compared to data reported from the national survey. Eighty percent of the students across ethnicities reported using the Internet at home. In comparing this data to the national survey overall, students at this school have access to computers both at home and school at a higher rate then students nation-wide. Student access to the Internet reflects a larger gap. Whereas 94% of the students at this school used the Internet at home, only 65% nationally reported using the Internet. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 138. 124 Overall, access is fundamental and basic to closing the digital gap. Many students who talked about using computers at school indicated that they rode the bus and did not have time to complete their projects on the computer because they could not stay after school. All responding students reported a similar higher level of Internet access at school and at home. Conclusion 1. Significant data are provided to support the finding that computer access and Internet access are available to all students at this school but that the same level of access is not available in the home. Several of the African American and Hispanic students in the interview sessions indicated that they had to use their friends’ and family members’ computers outside of school. The literature also indicates that, among these ethnic groups, accessibility at home is significantly lower. Conclusion 2. Much less of a disparity exists when comparing student access to computers at school and at home than that found nationally. Due to the better than 1:1 computer-to-student ratio at this school, there is much less disparity between ethnic groups at the school compared to national norms. Still, African-American and Hispanic students have the lowest access to the Internet at home, as revealed from data collected at the school. In investigating the influence of at-home technology upon academic performance of students, the data are inclusive. In interview sessions, many students spend more time playing games, sending e-mails to friends, or searching the web for fun than doing academically-related tasks. Research Question 3: In What Kind of Computer Activities do these Students Engage? Review o ffindings. The data showed that White students are more likely to have access to desktop computers, color printers, and e-mail at school than their African- Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 139. 125 American, Asian-American, or Hispanic-American counterparts. White students were granted greater access to desktop computers of their own at home than other ethnic groups. This correlates with the literature review. Computer and the Internet use provide an array of activities for students. From finding information on the web, to communicating though e-mail, to completing homework the Internet supports a wide range of activities. In this study, 79 to 88% of the students at this school had access to e-mail at home and at school. There are significant differences in the use of e-mail by race/ethnicity in the general population. Again, African American and Hispanic students were far below there Asian and White counterparts in the use of e-mail at home. Only 19% of the African American and 15 percent of the Hispanic students indicated that they had access to e-mail at home (table 24) while 44 and 43 Asian and White students respectively, indicated that they had access to e-mail at home. All responding students check their e-mail at school at least once a month. More than two in five (44%) students check their e-mail on a weekly basis. Despite the ready access most of the students have to the Internet at home, many of them never check their e-mail at home. Overall, one in four (25%) students either checks their e-mail elsewhere or do not use e-mail. At least two of five (40%) students from every ethnic group check their e-mail at home on a daily basis, suggesting that students prefer to use e-mail programs at home rather than at school. Over seven of 10 (73%) surveyed students reported browsing the web at least once a week at school. This trend is also reflected among students of different ethnic groups, with African-Americans at 73%, Asian-Americans at 80%, Caucasians at 72%, Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 140. 126 and Hispanic-Americans at 72%. Overall, about one in 10 (9%) of the respondents reported never checking their e-mail at school. Compared to the students who browse the web daily at school, nearly twice as many students reported browsing the web daily at home. Further, a sizable increase in the percentage of Caucasian and Hispanic-American students reported that they never browse the web at home (16% and 17%, respectively). World Wide Web Browsers were the most frequently used programs in all classrooms, with 72% of the students reported using a web browser at least three times a week, followed by word processing programs, which over one-half (57%) of respondents said they used at least three times a week. Overall, most of the responding students displayed similar distributions of software use at school across all ethnicities. An exception to this trend was found in African-American usage of word processing software at school. Thirty-two percent of the respondents reported using word processing software over 10 times a week. In comparison, only 4% ofresponding Asian-American students reported using word processing software at school with such frequency. Though not statistically significant, and representing only a small number of students (132), the investigator observed more African American (33%) and Hispanic (47%) students using drill/practices programs than their White (12%) or Asian (8%) counterparts. At home, students also reported using web browsers and word processors more often than any other programs. Over three-quarters (77%) reported using web browsers at least three times a week, whereas over two-thirds (67%) of the respondents used word processors with similar frequency. At home, 65% of responding students also used e-mail programs at least three times a week. African-American respondents reported using several types of programs at home more often than their counterparts. More African- Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 141. 127 Americans reported using presentation software, graphics software, and multimedia programs than other students. Using these types of programs are not reliant on the Internet. These findings are not consistent with national findings, where African American and Hispanic students have less access to computers, the Internet and e-mail than their white and Asian counterparts. Conclusion 1. In both focus groups and surveys, students reported that they use the World Wide Web to find information and conduct research. From the survey, all students, regardless of ethnicity, use the web at home and at school. Internet use at school was more consistent than at home, where some students share access with other family members or where their access levels are very low. Conclusion 2. Overall, students of all ethnicities use software at school at about the same rate, with slight increase by African American and Hispanic students using skill building programs. This software use was evident in classroom observations and student interview groups. Research Question 4: Is computer Use by .Students Related to .Demographic Characteristics such as Eace/Ethnicity, Gender, or other Factors? Review o ffindings. Overall, the results were consistent with the literature that shows that there are significant demographic and socioeconomic differences in the use of computers and the Internet. The key demographic variable that was considered in this study was race. Since the investigator could not collect data related to socioeconomic status or parents’ educational level, the differences were among typical racial lines. The number of students who have access to a computer or to the Internet, whether from school, home, or other places, has increased. The increase has been across income, racial, Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 142. 128 and educational levels. As to gender, the gap in computer and Internet use by males and females has all but disappeared. Forty percent of the students at this school qualified for free- or reduced-price lunches at the time of the study, and therefore were considered to be at the poverty level. While 94% of the students reported having access to a computer at home, the national data was significantly lower, at 65%. This was particularly true when race was considered. Large racial differences exist when comparing access at home. Whereas Asian and White students reported 76% and 77% respectively, only 41% of African American and Hispanic students report use of computers at home. The Digital Divide also exists when considered racial makeup of homes nationally. More than 70% of Asian and White homes have computers, compared with about 41% of African American and Hispanic households. White students were more likely to have computers of their own at home than other minorities, with 16 to 26% difference. Internet access reflects a similar gap- The rate of computer use at home nationally for African Americans and Hispanics is 54 percentage points lower than that of Asian students and 45 percentage points lower than that for White students. These rates of use at home are significantly lower than the students from this one school and significantly lower then their Asian and White counterparts at that school. Conclusion 1. Computer and Internet access is widespread but use ofboth is higher among Asian and White students. The gap in access among households of different groups falls along the same racial lines as is constant through America. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 143. 129 Conclusion 2. This School does appear to have narrowed the Digital Divide with computer and Internet access. The number of computers at this school and the fact that they were all networked enable all students at this school to have access to computers and the Internet. Summary In this chapter the investigator summarized the findings of student use of technology at one school. The school and the results were unusual because of the large number of networked computers at this school and the high number of students who use computers both at home and at school. The study permitted the investigator to explore the extent to which networked computers in schools can bridge the Digital Divide. The investigator compared the data collected from this one school to national outcomes, in an attempt to provide data which could inform attitudes and practices of policy-makers and educators. Computers have infiltrated all aspects of daily life and challenge the teaching and learning processes in today’s schools. The conclusions of this study, supported by the data presented, have enormous implications. This highly technological school substantially reduced the Digital Divide among a diverse student population. What was well-documented in this study was that access to computers and the Internet was wide­ spread, regardless of race. Without this access, computer and Internet access might continue along social and economic lines. The investment by the school district, the local university, and the computer company in the infrastructure at this one school has had major impact on access to technology and on bridging the Digital Divide. Despite Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 144. 130 successful expansion of access to computers into public schools nationally, the data indicate that there is still is a gap in schools in rural and low socioeconomic areas. Recommendations Access is the first step to bridging the Digital Divide and everyone needs to support effective ways to approach this issue. E-rate programs need to continue to provide the infrastructure for all schools and libraries. Computers and Internet connectivity should be an integral part of the infrastructure ofbuilding and expanding schools. This should include wireless connectivity and laptop computers that can be accessed anywhere, any place, any time. Computer loan programs would allow students to have access to technology at home. Every student will need to have access to computers and the Internet in order to become competitive. Schools should be provided with flexibility in scheduling and programs to promote strategies to raise the skills of all students. After-school and weekend programs should be developed to support learning about how to use technologies and acquire information. Educators, business leaders, politicians, and parents should explore how to provide remote access to all students and households. Many cities across the United States are providing wireless access in all municipal, city-central locations and airports. Cost-effective/free computer and Internet access at locations that have 24-hour service like markets, post offices, restaurants, and gas stations can enable all communities and students to have access. Cable companies have the capability to provide high-speed access at no cost or low cost to households. Providing the opportunity for remote/high speed access could possibly help close the Digital Divide. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 145. 131 All stakeholders should engage in discussions around the importance the role of technology plays in the global market and how it will shape our nation’s ability to compete in the global economy. Government needs to provide incentives for public- private partnerships to identify and provide resources for schools to maintain effective levels of access for teaching and learning. More opportunities should be created for students to use e-mail as a tool for sharing and receiving information. Accessibility to online information should be broadened and available in multiple languages, so students can fully harness learning opportunities. Different staffing models should be created to support schools and community centers to extend hours of access. Making access to computers and the Internet before and after school, and even into the evening, with classes for parents and students, could provide for access to knowledge, skills, and support for more students and families. Recommendationsfor Further Research One of the most significant aspects of the effort to bridge the Digital Divide is the role schools can play and have played in this process. Billions of dollars have been spent purchasing computers and related equipment and in connecting schools to the Internet. Several empirical studies have been conducted to analyze the gap between the technology haves and have-nots and the growing programs that are intended to address this issue. The Digital Divide is not only alive and well; it is a big problem that many organizations, schools, and universities are trying to address. Schools can play a major role in narrowing the gap. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 146. 132 In this school district and other large school districts across the nation, officials are looking for ways to provide more computer access to students and their families. In some cases, school programs give computers to students to take home and/or allow parents access to school computers. The study of this one public school confirms that schools can have a profound effect on the Digital Divide. The research supports the fact that disadvantage groups are still less likely to have computers at home or Internet access. Research studies are lacking in terms of the potential for schools to narrow the Digital Divide and whether students with access to technology and to the Internet have basic computer literacy skills to use the information available from these tools. Determining whether wired (or wireless) schools increase students’ and teachers’ ability to use technology and the Internet effectively and to raise student achievement is a concern of parents, teachers, administrators, and researchers (Milone et al., 1996). Student use of the World Wide Web should be tracked to link use with academic achievement and school projects. For example, investigate the reliance of disadvantage groups on public venues (schools and libraries) to complete homework assignments or accessing information. More research needs to be conducted to document further the findings of this study, especially in the following areas: 1. Because the study was limited to one school with a majority of minority students, the findings are limited. There is a need to examine access in relation to income. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 147. 133 2. Because the study was limited to one school, the findings are limited. There is a need to examine other highly technological schools regarding access of disadvantaged groups. 3. Because the study was limited to middle school students, there is a need to examine the relationship of access of high school students and grade point average. 4. Because there are so few schools with the level of technology that was present at the school used for this study, there is a need to examine the role of technology in closing the achievement gap. 5. Because the study was limited to student access and activity to computers, there is a need to examine teacher training and use of technology in teaching. Final Thoughts The current challenge for schools, regardless of whether they have a lot or a little technology, is the need for ongoing support. Hardware and software upgrades, high speed internet connectivity, system down time, stafftechnology training, and school hours are still major issues in public schools. Despite public school gains in access and equity to technology, lack of adequate funding is still a key barrier to all schools being highly technological. In recent years, there has been a shift in priorities and a reduction in the focus on the Digital Divide and the role schools have played and can play in closing the gap. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 provides the flexibility for states to use Title I money for technology. A state education agency can transfer 50% non-administrative state funds of State Technology Grants to other funded programs. Many states have needed to use technology money to fund other mandated federal regulations. R eproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 148. 134 Thanks to the e-rate, the majority of public schools in the nation have Internet access in classrooms. But there is no universal formula for how to use technology to raise achievement or close the Digital Divide. There are some critical factors that must be in place in order for schools to be successful. At the top is equal access to technology and the Internet by all students. The Digital Divide is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time. Whether in public schools or in homes, technology will become the nation’s leading strength or major weakness. Some people argue that technology is a reward of development, making it inevitable that the Digital Divide follows the income divide. True, as incomes rises, people gain access to the benefits of technological advancement. But many technologies are tools of human development that enable people to increase their incomes, live longer, be healthier, enjoy a better standard of living, participate more in their communities, and led more creative lives. Technology is like education —it enables people to lift themselves out of poverty. Thus, technology is a tool for, not just a reward of, growth and development (Riley, 2001). Educators must concentrate efforts to provide access to computers and the Internet to all students. Technology is a tool just like a pencil. Would educators stand by and let students come to school and expect them to learn and compete without a pencil? R eproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
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  • 150. 136 Cooper, M. N. (2000). Disconnected. Disadvantaged and Disenfranchised: Explorations in the Digital Divide. The Digital Divide Network, Retrieved May 5, 2002, from http://www.consumersunion.org/pdfrdisconnect.pdf Cummins, J. & Sayers, D. (1997). Brave New Schools: Challenging Cultural Illiteracy Through Global Learning Networks. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Education and Library Networks Coalition [EDLiNC] (2003, July), e-rate: A Vision of Opportunity and Innovation, Retrieved August 3, 2003, from http://www.edlinc.org/pdfrErateReport070803.pdC pp.2-13 Egan, K. (1997). The Educated Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. e-Leaming: Putting A World-Class Education at the Fingertips of all Children (2000, November). U.S. Department of Education, Retrieved October 2, 2001, from http://www.ed.gov/technology E-Rate and the Digital Divide: A preliminary Analysis from the Integrated Studies of Educational Technology. (2000, September). US Department of Education (Doc 00-17), Retrieved December 28, 2000, from http://www.ed.gOv/offices/OUS/eval/elem.html#Technology Ellsworth, J. (1997). Curricular Integration of the World Wide Web. TechTrends, 42(2), 24-30. Ely, D.P. (1996). Trends in Educational Technology. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University. Evans, R. (1996). The Human Side ofSchool Change, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Fabry, D.L. & Higgs, J.R. (1997). Barriers to the Effective Use of Technology in Education: Current Status, Journal ofEducational Computing Research, 17(4), 385-395. Federal Communications Commission. (2000) Federal Communications Commission Releases Data On High-Speed Services For Internet Access. FCC News. Retrieved July 7, 2001, from http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Common_Carrier/News_Releases/2000/nrcc0054.ht ml Fisher, M.M. (1997). The Voice of Experience: Inservice Teacher Technology Competency Recommendations for Preservice Teacher Preparation Programs. Journal o f Technology and Teacher Education, 5(2/3) 139-147. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 151. 137 Fishman, B.J. (1999). Characteristics of Students Related to Computer-Mediated Communications Activities. Journal o fResearch on Computing in Education, 32(1) 73-97. Fowler, F. J. (1993). Survey Research Methods, California: Saga Publications Fraenkel, J.R. & Wallen, N.E. (2003). How to design and evaluate research in education, 5thed. New York: McGraw-Hill. Gamer, R., & Gillingham, M. (1996). Internet communication in six classrooms: Conversations across time, space and culture. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum. Gladieux, L.E., & Swail, W.S. (1990). Policy brief: The Digital Divide and educational opportunity. College Board Review, 188, 28. Gladieux, L.E., & Swail, W.S. (1999). The growing divide. Phi Delta Kappan. 81(1), 90. Glennan, T. K., & Melmed, A. (1996). Fostering the use of educational technology: Elements of a national strategy (MR-682-OSTP/ED). Santa Monica, CA: RAND. Retrieved November 15, 2000, from http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR682/ Goals 2000: Educate America Act (1994). Title I -National Education Goals [H.R. 1804], Retrieved April 1, 1998 from http://www.edgov/legislation/GOALS2000/TheAct/secl 02.html Gooden, A. R. (1996). Computers in the Classroom: How Teachers and Students are Using Technology to Transform Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 1st edition. Gunderson, L., & Anderson, J. (1999). An exploration of Internet access for literacy teachers and learners. Computers in the Schools, 75(1), 5-11. Hayes, J. (1995). Equality and technology. Learning and Leading with Technology, 23(2), 51-53. Hayes, J., & Bybee, D.L. (1995). Defining the greatest need for educational technology. Learning and Leading with Technology, 23(2), 48-50. Herman, J. (1995). Evaluating the effects of technology in school reform. In B. Means (Ed.), Technology and education reform (pp. 133-165). San Francisco: Jossey- Bass. Hirumi, A., & Grau, I. (1996). A review of computer-related state standards, Textbooks, and journal articles: Implications for preservice teacher education and Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 152. 138 professional development. Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 12(4), 6- 17. Hoffman, F.L., & Novak, T.P. (1998). Bridging the racial divide on the Internet. Science, 280 (5362), 390. Johnson, D.L. (1994). Who are the telecommunications disadvantaged? Computers in the Schools, 10{1), 1-3. Johnson, D.L. (1995). The question of student access to the Internet. Computers in the Schools, 77(3), 1-6. Johnson, D.L. (1997). Integrating technology in the classroom: The time has come. Computers in the Schools, 13(1/2), 1-5. Johnson, D.L. (1999). A computer for every student? It ain't going to happen. Computers in the Schools, 75(2), 1-4. Kafai, Y.B., & Sutton, S. (1999). Elementary school students' computer and Internet use at home: Current trends and issues. Journal o fEducational Computing Research, 21(3), 345-362. Kallick, B., & Wilson, J., editors, (2001). Information Technologyfor Schools: Creating Practical Knowledge to Improve Student Performance, San Francisco: Jossey- Bass. Kennard, W. (2000, January 14). “E-Rate: A Success Story” Speech presented at the Educational Technology Leadership Conference - 2000 Council of Chief State School Officers. Retrieved August 27, 2000, from http://www.fecc.gov/Speeches/Kennard/2000/spwek002.html Kinser, J., Pessin, B., & Meyertholen, P. (2001). From the fields to the laptop. Learning and Leading with Technology, 28(5), 14-17, 48. Krieg, R. (1995) Information Technology and Low-Income, Inner City Communities. The Journal o f Urban Technology, 3(1). Kulik, C.C., & Kulik, J.A. (1991). Effectiveness of computer-based instruction: An updated analysis. Computers in Human Behavior, 7, 75-94. Kulik, J.A. (1994). Meta-analytical studies on findings in computer-based instruction. (pp. 9-23). In Baker, E.L., and O’Neil, H.E. (Eds.), Technology Assessment in Education and Training. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 153. 139 Leigh, P.R. (1999). Electronic connections and equal opportunities: An analysis of telecommunications distribution in public schools. Journal o fResearch on Computing in Education, 32(1), 108-127. Marshall, C., & Rossman, G.B. (1995). Designing qualitative research. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications. McKenzie, J. (1996). Designing staff development for the Information Age. From Now On, 1(4), 1. McKissack, F.L., Jr. (1998). Cyber-Ghetto: Blacks are falling through the net. Progressive, 62(6), 20-22. Means, B. (Ed.). (1995). Technology and education reform: The reality behind the promise. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Mehlinger, H.D. (1995). School reform in the Information Age. Bloomington, IN: Center for Excellence in Education. Melheim, W. (1997). Instructional utilization of the Internet in public school settings. TechTrends, 42(2), 19-23. Merriam, S.B. (1998). Qualitative Research and Case Study Applications in Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Milone, M. (1999). Connecting schools and communities: Challenges along the way. Computers in the Schools, 75(1), 19-23. Milone, M. Jr., & Salpeter, J. (1996, January). Technology and equity issues. Technology and Learning, 38—47. Moursund, D. (2001). The learner and teacher sides of the Digital Divide. Learning and Leading with Technology, 28(5), 4-5, 48. National Center for Education Statistics (2000). The Condition ofEducation: 2000, (NCES 2000-062). Washington, D.C: U.S. Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. (2002). Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-2001 (NCES 2002-018). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. (2003). Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-2002 (NCES 2004-011). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 154. 140 National Center for Education Statistics. (2003). Computer and Internet Use by Children and Adolescents in 2001 (NCES 2004-014). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. (2005). Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-2003 (NCES 2005-015). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. National Task Force on Educational Technology, (1986). Transforming American Education: Reducing the Risk to the Nation. (1986-04-00), Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. National Telecommunications and Information Administration. (1995). Falling Through The Net: A Survey of the “Have Nots ”in Rural and Urban America. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce. Retrieved May 24, 2000 from http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/fallingthru.html National Telecommunications and Information Administration. (1998). Falling Through The Net: New Data on the Digital Divide. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce. Retrieved May 24, 2000, from http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/net2/ National Telecommunications and Information Administration. (1999). Falling Through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Commerce. Retrieved February 4, 2000 from http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/fttn99/contents.html National Telecommunications and Information Administration. (2000). Falling Through the Net: Toward Digital Inclusion. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Commerce. Retrieved May 10, 2001 from http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/fttnOO/contentsOO.html Natt, J.G. (2000). Low-income Families rely on Schools to supply the Connection. Leadership News (2000, April 5). American Association of School Administrators. Newman, J., & Benz, C. (1998). Qualitative-quantitative research methodology. Carbondale & Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press. The 1996 Act amends the Communications At 1934, 47 U.S.C. 151 et seq. (Act). Public Law 1040104, 110 Stature 56. Orfield, G., Schely, S., Glass, D., & Reardon, S. (1994). The growth of segregation in American schools: Changing patterns of separation and poverty since 1968. Equity and Excellence, 27(1), 5-8. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 155. 141 Phi Delta Kappan (1999). The Growing Divide. 57(1), 90. Rhodes, L. (1996). Looking through a different lens: Snapshots of three school districts. Learning and Leading with Technology, 23(7), 35-39. Reich, R. (1992). The work o f nations. New York: Vintage Riley, Richard W. “Closing the Fault Lines.” Secretary’s Conference on Educational Technology. Washington D.C. 7 Mar. 1995. Retrieved July 7, 2001, from http http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/os/technology/plan/makehappen/speechl.ht ml Rogers, E. (1995). Diffusion of innovations. New York: Free Press. Sanders, B. (1994). A isfor ox. New York: Vantage Books. Scheffler, F.L., & Logan, J.P. (1999). Computer technology in schools: What teachers should know and be able to do. Journal o fResearch on Computing in Education, 31(3), 305-322. School Report Card (2000 -2001). School Accountability Report. School Number: 101912080. (Permission given to keep school and district private) Sleek, S. (1998). Isolation increases with Internet use. APA Monitor, 29 (9), 1, 30-31. Tapscott, D. (1998) Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation. New York, McGraw-Hill. Tashakkori, A., & Teddlie, C. (1998). Mixed Methodology: Combining qualitative and quantitative Approaches, Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc. Thornburg, D. (1995). Keynote Address at Secretary’s Conference on Educational Technology, March 1995, “Making it Happen, Sowing the Seeds for the Year 2020” Retrieved March 6, 2000, from http://www.ed.gOv/Technology/Plan?MakeHappen/Speechl .html Tierney, R.J. (1996). Redefining Computer Appropriation, (pp.169-183). In Fisher, C., Dwyer, D.C., & Yocam, K. (Eds.), Education and Technology: Reflections on Computing in Classrooms. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. United States Department of Education. (1983). A nation at risk: The imperativefor educational reform. (065-000-00177-2). National Commission on Excellence in Education. Washington, D.C.: Department of Education. United States Department of Education. (No date). Technology, education reform, and goals 2000. Retrieved fromtp://www.ed.gov/News/Indx.html [March 16]. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 156. 142 United States Department of Commerce. Falling Through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide. Washington: Department of Commerce, 2000. United States Department of Education. The Condition of Education: 2000. Washington: United States Department of Education, 2000. United States Department of Education, Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-2001. National Center for Education Statistics. NCES 2002- 018, Anne Kleiner and Elizabeth Farris. Project Officer: Bermard Greene. Washington, D.C.: 2002 Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch United States Department of Labor. (1991). What Work Requires of Schools. The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS Report) [On-line]. Retrieved October 2, 2000 from http://wdr.doleta.gov/WSCANS/whatwork/Whatwork.html Yang, Y. C. (1991/92). The effects of media on motivation and content recall: Comparison of computer and print-based instruction. Journal o fEducational Technology Systems, 20(2), 95-105. Yin, R. (1994). Case study research: design and methods. (Vol. 5). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Yoder, M.B. (2001). The Digital Divide. Learning and Leading with Technology, 28(5), 10-13,50-51. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 157. 143 APPENDIX A STANDARD WORKSTATION SOFTWARE Instructors Students 6-8 Students K-5 LABI & LAB2 Library Owl Link Windows 97 X X X X X Accelerated Reader 5.01 X X X X Kids Work 2 X X X X Reader Rabbit X X X X STAR Reading Program X X X X Geometry Sketchpad X X The Learning Company X X X X Microsoft Office 97 X X X X X Netscape 4.6 X X X X X Exchange Client 5.0 X X X X X TAAS Reading and Writing Sleek 6-8 X X TAAS Reading and Writing Sleek 3-5 X X X X Tvelite Software X Lview Pro X X X X Dr. Solomon for Windows 95 X X X X Encarta 99 X X X X X Teacher’s Gradebook X Fortress 1.01 X X X X Winnebago Library Software X Larson's Elementary Leapfrog Math X X X Larson's Intermediate Leapfrog Math X X X Larson's Middle School Math X X X X HARCOURT-BRACE Mighty Math Zoo Zillions X X X Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 158. 144 Instructors Students 6-8 Students K-5 LABI & LAB2 Library Owl Link HARCOURT-BRACE Carnival Countdown X X X HARCOURT-BRACE Number Heros X X X HARCOURT-BRACE Calculating Crew X X X Making The Grade X HARCOURT-BRACE Mighty Math Class Management X S.T.A.R. Reading X CBT Training Software X Connected University X Netscape Publisher X X Inspiration X X All The Right Type X X Kidspiration X AP Photo Archive X X Grolier Online X X Sibelius X Web Feet X X World Book Online X X Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 159. 145 APPENDIX B K - 8 SCHOOL A Center for Professional Development Tenets of the school Decision-making and school governance are best carried out by those most affected - teachers, students, parents, and administrators. High expectations and community values will be clearly articulated and upheld through a school honor code, developed and enforced by students, teachers, parents, and administrators. Every child needs and deserves two languages to function in a global society. Learning in school is most effective when it relates to real-life problems and challenges. Natural connections among school subjects will be emphasized through an inter-disciplinary and integrated curriculum. Teachers are important role models for children, and must be life-long learners themselves. The school should serve as a “lighthouse” school and reach out to other schools and communities to share resources and innovations. A Technology-rich environment must be present and used as a tool across all disciplines to prepare students for educational and work environments. Community service helps children develop important values and some form of community service will be required of all students. All children have gifts and talents that need to be recognized and nurtured. Public education can be high quality education. The intellectual resources of the University and other community institutions are key ingredients in supporting the innovative work of the school. A Joint Partnership between the Independent School District and the University Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 160. 146 APPENDIX C Focus Group S.A.B., Science/Technology Teacher S. J., Technology Coordinator L. L., Assistant Principal M. M. G., Network Specialist D. P., Member, Shared Decision Making Committee Parent, Middle School Student M. P., Parent Elementary School Students D. K. S., Assistant Principal V. R. S., 5thGrade Teacher J. M. S., Bilingual Teacher J. M. S., Member, Shared Decision Making Team Middle School Student G. S., Member, Shared Decision Making Team Parent, Middle School Students R. S. S., Associate Provost Rice University Questions for the Focus Group Regarding the Internet Student Survey: 1. Were instructions clear? Were the questions clear? 2. Did you understand what answers were expected? 3. Which questions would you eliminate? Which questions would you add? 4. How long did it take you to complete the survey? How long do you think it will take the students to complete the survey? Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 161. 147 APPENDIX D Student’s Technology Survey PLEASE DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME ON THIS SURVEY 1. I am comfortable using computers a. Yes □ b. No □ 2. Using computers, I rate myself a. Beginner □ b. Intermediate □ c. Advanced □ 3. My computer skills are in a. Macintosh □ b. PC (Windows) □ c. Other (specify) □ 4. I use a computer at a. Home a. Yes □ b. No □ b. School and other after school sites (specify) a. Yes □ b. No □ c. Community Center, Church or Temple a. Yes □ b. No □ d. Library a. Yes □ b. No □ 5. I use computers only at school a. Yes □ If yes, skip questions (8, 10, 12,14, 16, b. No □ 23, and 32) 6. Check all the things you use a computer for Check all that Apply a. Practices or drill (math and reading) □ b. Create or complete a report or writing assignment □ c. Email or chat □ d. Searching the Internet for data/information □ e. Making a presentation □ f. Improving computer skills □ g. Working with others on an assignment or project □ h. Other (describe) □ Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 162. 148 7. What kinds of technology resources do you have availab e to vou at school? Check all that Apply a. A desktop computer for your own use □ b. A laptop computer for your own use □ c. A computer printer □ d. Access to a color printer □ e. Access to email □ f. Access to the Internet □ g. A computer to borrow to use at home □ h. None of the above □ i. Other (specify) □ 8. What kinds of technology resources do you have available to vou at home? Check all that Apply a. A telephone in my room □ b. Easy access to photocopying (copier at home or a copy store close) □ c. A fax machine □ d. A desktop computer for your own use □ e. A laptop computer for your own use □ f. A computer printer □ g. Access to a color printer □ h. Access to email □ i. Access to the Internet □ j. High speed access to the Internet (such as cable, DSL, Tl) □ k. Access to the school’s computer network from home □ 1. Access to the Internet from home through a school connection □ m. None of the above □ n. Other (please specify) □ 9. I use the Internet at school a. Yes □ b. No □ 10. I use the Internet at home a. Yes □ b. No □ 11. I check mv e-mail at school a. Daily □ b. Weekly □ c. Monthly □ d. Never □ Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 163. 149 12. I check mv e-mail at home a. Daily □ b. Weekly □ c. Monthly □ d. Never □ 13. I browse the World Wide Web at a. Daily □ school b. Weekly □ c. Monthly □ d. Never □ 14. I browse the World Wide Web at home a. Daily □ b. Weekly □ c. Monthly □ d. Never □ 15. I use chat rooms, MOOs, Newsgroups a. Daily □ at school b. Weekly □ c. Monthly □ d. Never □ 16. I use chat rooms, MOOs, Newsgroups a. Daily □ at home b. Weekly □ c. Monthly □ d. Never □ 17. I use listserv to receive and share a. Yes □ information b. No □ 18. I use the word processing program on a. Daily □ the computer to complete projects b. Weekly □ c. Monthly □ d. Never □ 19. I use the computer and other software a. Daily □ to complete projects (other than word b. Weekly □ processing projects) Excel, c. Monthly □ PowerPoint, d. Never □ Others, please list: Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 164. 150 20. How Useful are each of the following programs/software for completing projects? Not Useful Slightly Useful Moderatel y Useful Very Useful Essential a. Word Processing □ □ □ □ □ b. PowerPoint □ □ □ □ □ c. Excel/Spreadsheet □ □ □ □ □ d. Newsgroups □ □ □ □ □ e. Chat rooms □ □ □ □ □ f. Internet, WWW, E-mail □ □ □ □ □ & List serve □ □ □ □ □ 21. At school which number of people do you usually share the computer with? Check the most common occurrence, or check two if two are equally common. a. No one □ b. One person □ c. Groups o f 3 - 4 □ 22. For Each of the following types of software, please indicate how many times you use that software in a week in ANY class. No Time 1-2 Times 3 - 9 Times 10+ Times a. Skill building (Larson’s Math, STAR, Accelerated Reader, Sleek, etc.) □ □ □ □ b. Simulations or exploratory games □ □ □ □ c. Encyclopedias or other references on CD-ROM □ □ □ □ d. Word Processing (i.e., MS Word) □ □ □ □ e. Software for making presentations (i.e., PowerPoint) □ □ □ □ f. Graphics (i.e., Photo Shop) □ □ □ □ g. Spreadsheets or database programs (i.e., MS Excel, MS Access, etc.) □ □ □ □ h. Multimedia programs (i.e., Hyper studio) □ □ □ □ i. World Wide Wed browser (i.e., Netscape/ MS Explorer) □ □ □ □ j. Electronic mail (email) □ □ □ □ Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 165. 151 23. For Each of the following types of software, please indicate how many times you use that software in a week at HOME. No Time 1 -2 Times 3 - 9 Times 10+ Times a. Skill building and practice (Drills) □ □ □ □ b. Simulations or exploratory games □ □ □ □ c. Encyclopedias and other references on CD-ROM □ □ □ □ d. Word Processing (i.e., MS Word) □ □ □ □ e. Software for making presentations (i.e., PowerPoint) □ □ □ □ f. Graphics - oriented printing (e.g., Print Shop) □ □ □ □ g. Spreadsheets or database programs (i.e., MS Excel, MS Access) □ □ □ □ h. Multimedia program (i.e., Hyper studio) □ □ □ □ i. World Wide Wed browser (i.e., Netscape/MS Explorer) □ □ □ □ j. Electronic mail (email) □ □ □ □ 24. In which of these ways do you use computers to prepare for your classes or other activities? I use computers to: Do Not Use Occasionally Weekly More Often a. Write letters/or reports □ □ □ □ b. Emailing friends □ □ □ □ c. Send cards over the internet □ □ □ □ d. Emailing my parents □ □ □ □ e. Use the Internet to search for data information and for a project □ □ □ □ f. Get pictures from the Internet □ □ □ □ g. Use camcorders, digital cameras, or scanners to prepare for class □ □ □ □ h. Exchange computer files with others □ □ □ □ Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 166. 152 25. Where/When did you first become reasonably comfortable with using computers? Check only one a. While I was a student at this school □ b. While at home □ c. While in an after school program □ d. At the library □ 26. I know how to No Somewhat Yes a. Display the directory of a disk □ □ □ b. Format and/or copy files a floppy disk □ □ □ c. Format documents (fonts, margins, spacing, □ □ □ tabs) d. Insert graphic, chart, or table into a Word or □ □ □ presentation document e. Prepare a slide show using presentation software □ □ □ f. Insert clip art, sound, and/or animation into □ □ □ a document 8- Use a World Wide Web to search for □ □ □ data/information h. Retrieve and save Internet resources □ □ □ i. Import a picture from the Internet or file into a document □ □ □ j- Use a graphic or drawing tool □ □ □ k. Forward and Delete E-mail messages □ □ □ 1. Attach files to an E-mail message □ □ □ m. Create a web page □ □ □ n. Troubleshoot / Solve everyday computer problems □ □ □ 27. Have you ever used computers in the following ways? No Partly Yes a. Collect data from people, newspapers, or the Internet, enter the results into the computer, and presented it to the class using presentation software □ □ □ b. Collaborate with classes in other schools on a project □ □ □ c. Write a story, illustrate it with scanned images or digitized pictures, record sound for the story, and make a multimedia presentation □ □ □ d. Place text and pictures on the Web on a specific topic □ □ □ e. Create a web page □ □ □ R eproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 167. 153 28. Computers have helped me academically by Check all that apply a. Providing me with practice exercises in Read/math □ b. Improving my writing skills □ c. Improving my reports □ d. Permitting me to explore new areas/subjects □ e. Increasing my knowledge base in several areas □ f. Increasing my ability to problem solve □ g. Helping me communicate with other students and experts □ DEMOGRAPHICS 29. Age Grade 30. Ethnicity: African American/Black □ Alaskan Native □ American Indian □ Asian □ Caucasian/White □ Mexican American/Hispanic □ Pacific Islander □ Other □ 31. My parent(s) use a computer at a. Home □ b. At work □ c. At home & work □ d. Do not use a computer □ e. Other (specify) □ 32. I share my computer at home with a. No one □ b. My parents □ c. My sibling(s) □ Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 168. 154 33. Number of Siblings 1 □ 2 □ 3 □ 4 □ More than 4 □ 34. How many years have you attended this school 1 □ 2 □ 3 □ 4 □ 5 □ 6 □ 7 □ Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 169. 155 APPENDIX E Teacher, Parent, StaffInterview Guide 1. How many of the students do you feel are comfortable using computers and the Internet? 2. What do you see students using the computers for (skill building [drill and kill], writing reports, developing projects, group work, etc.,) 3. What is the major use of the computers by students (email, bulletin boards, get resources from outside sources, etc.,) 4. How much access do they have to technology (everyday at school, everyday at home, etc.). Approximately how many hours per week? 5. Typically, how many students use a computer each day? For about how long? 6. How useful is it to have this much technology available to students? How has it helped them academically? 7. What are the students’ most popular programs? 8. How many students say they have access to computers and the Internet at home? 9. What do you see as the difference between students who have computers at home and those who do not? 10. What other information can you share with me about when, where, and how much technology is used by students in learning? Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 170. 156 APPENDIX F Classroom Observation of Students using Technology (Written observational notes are on the back) Student/Students were usine the foliowine aoolications in erotics or indeoendentlv: Rating scale of A - D (A-Beginner, B-Intermediate, C-Advanced, D-Guru) with number of students at that level (e.g., B-7, C-2, D-l, etc.). Rate # 1. Word Processing (creating/revising a report) 2. Word Processing (cutting, pasting and formatting) 3. Presentation software (i.e., Power Point) 4. Drill/practice programs/tutorials 5. Simulations program 6. Spreadsheets/calculations 7. Creating/revising a Database 8. Graphics or other visual presentation 9. Hypermedia/Multimedia 10. Graphical applications 11. Exploring/Searching the Internet 12. Making Web Pages 13. Emailing/Chatroom Whole Class activities: No rating; number of students and Activity ( 1 - 1 3 above, i.e., 6-5) A # Teacher directed from large screen hook-up Teacher directed with students in small groups Teacher directed with students in pairs Teacher directed with individual on computers Technology literacy lesson Tutorial/remediation for core objective content Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 171. 157 APPENDIX G Student Interview Guide Questions, which might give better understanding of what students, do with technology 1. Imagine what you would do with out computers. 2. How do computers impact your world now? What do you see as the future of computers in your life? In your career? In your home? 3. What do you like about having a lot of technology at school? 4. Where do you use the computer and the Internet the most (in homeroom, in English class, Math class, etc.)? 5. Do you use technology at home? Describe 6. Do you feel you have an advantage over your other friends who do not have this much access to technology at their schools? 7. How do you feel technology has changed your work habits, study skills, school attendance? 8. Describe/show us some of the work/projects you do on the computer? Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 172. 158 APPENDIX H Sharon Valear Robinson Dear D r.________ Thank you for talking with me and expressing your willingness for your school to participate in this data collection phase of my doctoral dissertation. My studies are in the areas of educational technology and how students use technology in learning. My hope is that by gathering this data, research and funding for technology in schools will increase so all schools become high technological resources. The following research questions are being addressed: 1. Which Students at this school use computers and the Internet? 2. Where do the students use computers and the Internet (at school, home, community centers, etc.)? 3. In what kind of computer activities do these students engage (word-processing, presentation programs, multimedia, information gathering from a variety of sources, e.g., the Internet)? 4. Is computer use by students related to demographic characteristics such as race/ethnicity, gender or other factors (compared to national statistics)? Your school was selected because of several factors: □ It is a highly technological school □ Students who attend can possibly have up to nine years (K-8) of technology access; and □ The population is diverse I also want to make it perfectly clear that there will be no identification of the school, district, staffor students in this study. All data will be gathered in the aggregate. The focus is not on teachers’ but on students’ access to technology and how they use that technology in learning. Anonymity of all responses will be strictly preserved. I will be collecting data in six different ways: Focus Group: A group of parents, teachers, administrators, the technology coordinator and I will need to meet to review the purpose of the study and the student survey. This group will review the survey and make recommendations for the final edition. This group should have persons with a variety of technological skills (low or no skills at all, medium, and high skills). You or your staffmay select the members of this group. Each person will be asked the questions on the attached questionnaire. At the end of the study, the findings will be submitted to this group before final submission. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 173. 159 Interviews: I will need to conduct individual interviews with the members of the focus group. I would like to conduct these interviews during the lunch hour (I will provide lunch) or after school. I will compensate teachers for this time. Internet Student Survey: The student survey was developed in Microsoft Access, which can be made available to students on the school’s LAN and will automatically generate raw data through file transfer protocol. Students will not be identified and data is collected in the aggregate. The survey can be given during homeroom. It should not take more then 20 minutes to complete. Classroom Observations: To ensure triangulation of data collection, I will need to conduct classroom observations. I will be observing students using technology and not teachers. Teachers need to be informed that iftechnology is not being used in their room on those days that I am visiting, I will leave and go to another classroom. This is not personal: the nature of the study is focused on students using technoOlogy. I would like to do this over a week’s period of time and would like to visit all middle school classrooms. Because of my close connection with your school, my observations have been going on for the past three years. Student Interviews: There will need to be several student interview sessions comprised of middle school students who demonstrate high, medium, minimal technological skills. Administrators, coordinators, and teachers who have knowledge of the skills of the students can refer participants. These sessions will be held during the lunch hour (I will provide lunches for the students). There should be approximately 10 students in each session. I will contact these students’ parents personally after the school has gained permission from their parents to participate. School Documents: I will need the demographics of the school. This information can be faxed or emailed to the above addresses. I understand you will be doing testing soon. I do not want to interfere with this schedule or concentration. Please provide me with dates that I can conduct the interviews and observations after the testing period. Thank you in advance four your support and cooperation Sincerely, Sharon Valear Robinson Doctoral Student, Pepperdine University Enclosure: Teacher, Parent, & StaffInterview Guide Student Interview Guide Instructions for teachers and Students Internet Student Survey Questions for the Focus Group Article for the school’s paper Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 174. 160 APPENDIX I Email to the middle school teachers Dear Middle School Teachers: We are conducting a student survey on technology. We are trying to ascertain whether students at a highly technological school have more technology skills and access to computers and the Internet than their peer group nationally. This information will help us as we write grants and provide data about our school. This information will be gathered in the aggregate —NO STUDENTS OR SCHOOLS WILL BE IDENTIFIED. The survey is on the LAN at the school. Students will only be able to access it with a teacher provided pass code for one day only. Those students who are absent, will be provided with a different pass code on another day. It should take less than one-homeroom period to complete and should be at approximately a 5thgrade reading level. Teachers may provide any assistance needed. THIS IS NOT A TEST. You will need to write the attached instruction on the board so every student can access it. If you have a student who needs aide assistance, please let the aide access the survey, read the questions to the student, and type in the answer. Teachers and aides may provide any assistance needed. The data is gathered within the application (Access) and is summarized. We are shooting for 100% of the middle school students to complete this survey Instructions for the Internet Student Survey (To be read or provided to the students by the teacher) Students: You will be taking a survey on the computer about your technology skills. THIS IS NOT A TEST. I can answer any questions you need about the survey. If you have a question raise your hand. Please be as truthful as you can and if you do not understand a question, answer it to the best of your knowledge. Here are the instructions to bring the survey up on your computer (this will be handed out, placed on an overhead or written on the board). Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 175. 161 APPENDIX J Article for the School’s Newsletter Dear parents: Because technology is such an important part of our school, we want to conduct a survey with our middle school students to ascertain how they use technology. Mrs. Sharon Robinson, the former Principal, and our Technology Coordinator, are conducting this survey in hopes of increasing funding, grants, and research for technology in our school. The survey will be placed on the Local Area Network (LAN) and it should take our 6th, 7th, and 8th graders approximately 15 minutes to complete. Students will be anonymous and all the data will be collected in the aggregate, so neither the school nor the students will be identified. A copy of the survey is available in the school office for review. Students will be taking the survey in homeroom. Mrs. Robinson and Mr. Johnson will also interview several students (10 - 20) about their experience with technology. They will be asked to share some of the work they created or developed on a computer. Staff and teachers will be recommending students for this group interview. We will send a permission form for your signature if your child is selected for the interview. If your child is recommended, you will also receive a copy of the questions that will be used in the group interviews. If you have any questions or do not want your child to be apart of this survey, please notify the assistant principal in writing. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.
  • 176. 162 APPENDIX K Permission/Release Form Technology in Schools: A Case Study of A School’s Computer Usage and its Effect in Bridging the Digital Divide I give my permission for Sharon Robinson to interview my child, _________________ _______________________________________ and view his/her work. I understand the interview will take place during my child’s lunch period and Ms. Robinson will provide lunch. My child is to bring a project that he/she completed on the computer (PowerPoint presentation, word processing report, web page developed, etc.). I also understand that my name, my child’s name, the school’s name and other specifies of personal data will not be used in the study. A code of confidentially and anonymity will be strictly in force throughout the study. Parent’s Signature:_____________________________________________________ Ms. Robinson may be reached at ###-###-####. Her email address is: address@ISP.net Thank you for your support in this research on Technology in Schools. Reproduced with perm ission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without perm ission.

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