Rates of success improve vastly for first-generation college students who have access to technology tools both in and out of the classroom.
Technology access issues related to the Digital Divide continue to have an impact on academic success and, correspondingly, to economic growth in the U.S. As technology acquisition costs go down and the use of mobile computing platforms increase, the conversation has shifted to differences in usage patterns related to social class, cultural and economic factors. Basically, kids from wealthy families in affluent school districts use technology differently then kids in less affluent schools and social classes. Research shows that it is not enough to put a computer into the hands of every student, we have to teach them how to use it "in activities that locate, create, communicate, and evaluate information within a networked (online) environment, mediated by digital computing technologies” (Boileau, 2015). The compelling issue among researchers, therefore, is shifting the focus to methods for teaching digital/media literacy skills to promote critical thinking and to close the ‘new’ digital divide. I have a book chapter in press that speaks to this phenomenon.