The Digital Divide and K-12 Student Computer Use

James N. Morgan, Craig A. VanLengen
InSITE 2005  •  Volume 5  •  2005
The divide between those who have computer and Internet access and those who do not appears to be narrowing, however overall statistics may be misleading. Measures of computer availability in schools often include cases where computers are only available for administration or are available only on a very limited basis (Gootman, 2004). Access to a computer and the Internet outside of school helps to reinforce student learning and emphasize the importance of using technology. Recent U.S. statistics indicate that ethnic background and other demographic characteristics still have substantial impact on the availability and use of computers by students outside of the classroom. This paper examines recent census data to determine the impact of the household on student computer use outside of the classroom. Encouragingly, the findings of this study suggest that use of a computer at school substantially increases the chance that a student will use a computer outside of class. Additionally, this study suggests that computer use outside of the classroom is positively and significantly impacted by being in a household with adults who either use a computer at work or work in an industry where computers are extensively used.
Digital-divide, education, K-12 education, Computer use, Internet access
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