Socio-economic status and students’ experiences of technologies: Is there a digital divide?

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Citation:
Rhetoric and Reality: Critical perspectives on educational technology. Proceedings ascilite Dunedin 2014, 2014, pp. 688 - 692 (5)
Issue Date:
2014
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With the widening participation agenda in Australia, more students from low socio-economic backgrounds are being encouraged to undertake university degrees, and will be expected to use digital technologies and demonstrate digital literacies. This paper used data from a 2013 survey of students across three universities, to examine whether there were socio-economic differences in students’ access to and use of technologies. There were few differences in access to equipment. There were also no differences in the most common uses of technologies, such as accessing course materials from the LMS, and few differences between students from low, medium and high socioeconomic status suburbs. However students who received government support benefits less frequently used technologies that related to disciplinary skills or to creating rather than receiving content. There may be a subtle digital divide, where financially disadvantaged students are engaging less with technologies that will most benefit their future employment.
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