Statement of Problem
The term digital divide emerged in the mid-1990’s to describe the gap that exists between individuals who have access to technology and those that do not have access (Eamon, 2004). Computer technology has transformed modern society in profound ways (Behrman & Shields, 2000). Everyday society exposes citizens to technology in some form. Citizens integrate technology into common tasks such as signing into work, paying bills, shopping, paying taxes, and even reading the local newspaper (Behrman & Shields, 2000). The increasing integration of technology into society cause school systems to be more resolute about including technology in every classroom. School leaders generally agree that access to technology prepares students to succeed in the 21st century (Bell, Judge, & Puckett, 2006). Other researchers point out that increasing access to technology in the classroom environment does not ensure academic improvement. These researchers point out that there are limits to the advantages that technology offers. A meta-analysis by Crismann, Badgert and Lucking (1997) involving 27 studies concerning academic achievement of students who received traditional classroom instruction or traditional classroom instruction with technology integration showed interesting results. On average, students receiving technology infused instruction attained higher academic achievement than 58.2 percent of those in traditional classrooms (Page, 2002). The digital divide addresses societal differences that correlate to the educational outcomes of students. Such differences raised concerns about the emergence of the digital divide between the children on one side who are benefiting from technology and the children on the other side who the lack of technology access leaves behind (Becker, 2000).
Key Terms and Definitions
Application – computer software; also called a program
Broadband – a type of data transmission in which a single wire can carry several channels at once. Broadband technology can transmit data, audio, and video all at once over long distances. 3.
Chat – real time, text-based communication in a virtual environment 4.
Digital Divide – the gap between those with regular, effective access to digital technologies and those without 5.
Digital Technology – machinery and computer equipment used for practical and informative purposes 6.
Learning Portal – any web site that offers learners and organizations consolidated access to learning and training resources from multiple sources 7.
Multimedia – interactive text, images, sounds, and color 8.
Network – two or more computers that are connected so users can share files and devices 9.
Online – a computer communicating with another computer 10.
World Wide Web (www) – a graphical Internet tool that provides access to homepages created by individuals, businesses, and other organizations
Statement of Hypothesis
Researchers define the digital divide as discrepancies in technology use and access in learning environments based on ethnicity and socioeconomic status (Pearson & Swain, 2002). School systems and government programs supply technology equipment and software to United States’ schools in effort to close the digital divide. Nearly every school is now equipped with computers, and over two-thirds of our nation’s children have access at home (Shields & Behrman, 2000). Equal access and supply cannot close the digital divide alone. Teachers need adequate training on selection of technology and integration of technology. Teachers, parents, and students must become technology literate in order to close the digital divide.
Review of Literature
Advantages of Technology and Academic Performance
The digital divide influences academic performance because limited student access to technology minimizes experiences and knowledge necessary to succeed academically. Computer based technology contributes to children’s academic achievement. Researchers...
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