Living in the digital divide : the lived experience of students without access to computers & the internet
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] As computer and Internet technologies increasingly entwine themselves with educational, social, financial, and employment opportunities, those individuals lacking access to computers and/or computer skills will find themselves falling further behind the rest of society. Using qualitative phenomenological research processes, the phenomenon of the digital divide, the gap in access to and equity of technological experiences among populations, is described from the perspective of middle school students, including barriers for schools in closing the divide. The research describes the interplay between students, computers, and schools as they occur naturally.The findings that surfaced during the research indicate that students without access to computers and Internet at home are cognizant of differences to other students with regards to technology, and that in some cases, the school and teachers inadvertently magnify and expose these differences. The students' feeling of isolation and exclusion is partially based upon a narrow set of experiences using computers and the Internet at school-experiences structured by the school and teachers that give the students little independence in the usage of the technologies. The findings of this study present a challenge for school systems that serve to bridge the gaps created by differential access to computers and the Internet outside of school.
Access is limited to the campuses of the University of Missouri.