Millennial Learners and Net-Savvy Teens? Examining Internet Use among Low-Income Students

Winter 2009-2010

Source: Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, Volume 26, No. 2, Winter 2009-2010,
p. 63-69.

This article discusses access and use of information and communication technologies among urban high school students from low-income families. This is a topic of great interest to teacher educators, educational policymakers, and others concerned with digital literacy instruction.

Recent reports from national digital learning initiatives have portrayed today's teens as digital natives—youth who are constantly online, perceive themselves as Internet-savvy, and prefer technology-enhanced learning experiences. However, this portrait may not be true for all learners.

This study explored trends in Internet use among students from low-income families compared to national trends. In the spring of 2007, students from low-income families responded to a survey assessing their access to the Internet, frequency and type of use, and capacity to use the Internet. The researchers also conducted focus groups with students.

In this article, the authors discuss findings and implications for teachers seeking to understand similar students' Internet access, use, and capacity and suggest implications for digital literacy instruction, technology policy, and teacher education.

Updated: Feb. 21, 2010