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The Digital Divide in Canadian Schools

The Digital Divide in Canadian Schools

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The Digital Divide in Canadian Schools

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  1. The Digital Divide in Canadian Schools E. Dianne Looker Sociology, Acadia University Victor Thiessen Sociology & Social Anthropology Dalhousie University

  2. ISSUES • Increasing emphasis on information & communication technology (ICT) • Importance of equity • The “digital divide” - between users and non-users - among users • Focus on youth in Canadian schools

  3. Data sets • General Social Survey – Cycle 14 (15-24 year olds - 1999) • Youth in Transition Survey/ Programme for International Student Assessment (15-16 year olds – 2000) • Second International Technology in Education Survey (Senior high schools – 2000)

  4. Measures of equity • Gender, rurality, class (Independent variables) • Use/non-use • Access to hardware, software & tech. support at home & school • Amount of use • Type of use

  5. Measures, cont’d • Reasons for use - School/study - Personal interest • Attitudes to ICT - Importance of working with ICT - Computers are fun - Use computers out of interest • Self reported levels of competence

  6. Results GENDER • Little difference in use • Little difference in computers at home • Males more programming, spreadsheets, graphics, data entry & games • Females learn more for study;males for personal interest • Males more likely to use ICT for fun, to say computers are interesting, important • More males say they have excellent computer skills

  7. Rural- urban • No differences in use • Few differences in types of use (more urban use Internet) • Fewer rural have computer in home • Rural use computers less at home • Rural use computers more at school & library • No differences in attitudes • No differences in skill level

  8. Rural-urban from SITES • Urban more coordinators & more formal coordinators • Rural coordinators have other duties • Urban more computers/student • Urban more ICT for specific subjects • Urban more opportunities for teacher training & knowledge transfer • Rural less access to high speed Internet

  9. Parental ed. (SES) • Low SES less use • Low SES fewer computers in home & use less at home • Little difference in school use • Low SES less of several types of use • Low SES use for study rather than interest • Low SES less likely to say “important to work with computers” • Low SES lower rating of ICT skills

  10. Conclusions • Little difference in levels of use • Some differences in access in home • Public investment in ICT affects access • Small but important differences in attitudes, use and levels of expertise • Differences in attitudes affect use • Differences in Internet access can exacerbate structural inequities •  Cautious optimism