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Row of Computers

Utilizing Tech to Best Benefit Students

by Molly B. Zielezinski


Article excerpt

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

Research on edtech points to an explanation of why access is not enough Specifically, Professor Mark Warschaeur (the force to be reckoned with when it comes to researching Digital learning) found that “overall, students who are black, Hispanic, or low-income are more likely to use computers for drill-and-practice, whereas students who are white or high-income are more likely to use computers for simulations or authentic applications” (pg.148). This mean that access alone isn’t enough to raise the bar for underserved students. Lenovo’s Sam Morris has some additional suggestions.

Our take

Having Technology is Not Enough—It’s How You Use It

Though we often hear good news about low dropout rates, the truth is that for some segments of the population dropout rates are unacceptably high according to data provided by This is particularly true for minority and low-income students whose dropout rates range from 25 to almost 40 percent. Is lack of access to technology the problem?

Not necessarily. In fact, professor and researcher Mark Warschauer points to a discrepancy in how the technology as a more serious factor. Among minority and low-income students, he says, technology tends to be used for “drill-and practice,” while higher-income and white students are more likely to engage with technology through simulations or applications that allow them to apply what they’ve learned. How might you address these disparities? The author of this piece offers some suggestions including: don’t use technology for remediation, allow students to create their own digital content, and choose tools that promote interaction and discovery.