Equitable access to technology in the educational setting: Definition and analysis within the Androscoggin Valley
Pamela J. Buffington, The Union Institute, United States
The Union Institute . Awarded
This research examined the dynamics of technology equity and access as well as the notion of "equitable access to technology" as perceived by students and staff within and among five secondary schools in Androscoggin County, Maine. The design of the study was a combination of qualitative and quantitative action research which considered multiple cases, and focused on the impact of physical climate, curriculum, emotional and psychological climate, and policy and practice regarding technology. Five case studies were conducted using surveys, observations, taped interviews, and focus groups. Data were analyzed and the results showed that inequities exist across gender, class and program lines. Although students, staff, and administration articulate a very limited understanding of technology equity, the data portray very complex systems which maintain inequity. Factors found to influence technology equity include availability of resources, awareness and prior knowledge, attitudes and expectations, actions and behaviors, and level of application. The disparity between the articulated understanding of equity and the reality within schools signals a need to impart a more sophisticated understanding of these issues to members of the educational community. This doctoral thesis offers a framework for conceptualization and provides recommendations for action within the educational setting.
Buffington, P.J. Equitable access to technology in the educational setting: Definition and analysis within the Androscoggin Valley. Ph.D. thesis, The Union Institute.
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