What a Decade of Education Research Tells Us About Technology in the Hands of Underserved Students

By Molly B. Zielezinski May 19, 2016

Published here

Despite all the celebratory rhetoric around our nation’s declining dropout rates, during a given year, nearly 20% of students expected to graduate do not. Furthermore, according to John Hopkins and Civic Enterprises, “unacceptably low levels of minority, low-income, English Language Learners, and special education students are graduating from high school.” This is true for 29% of African American students, 25% of Hispanic students, 39% of students who have limited English proficiency, and 27% of low income students (as shown on Ed.gov).


Hardware can’t fill this digital divide—especially when K-12 schools in low-income neighborhoods are only using it for remediation purposes. In the last three years, U.S. schools have begun seeing an unprecedented level of new hardware and software in their classrooms. But how can we use this massive influx of technology to support our nations’ underserved students?


The (alarming) research on edtech and equity

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with some educational superheroes, Linda Darling-Hammond and Shelley Goldman, on a massive literature review and policy brief guided by the very question listed above. During this project, I personally vetted almost 400 publications, landing on 52 that were relevant, rigorous, and grounded in actual research. Taken as a collection (outlined in this presentation on the Digital Learning Ecosystem), they revealed a holistic picture of the parts that must work together for edtech to be effective in the classroom.

Full article here




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