K-12 schools are making significant investments in digital educational tools, predicated on the belief that these tools have the potential to transform learning and improve student education outcomes. However, considerable technology disparities persist in K-12 public schools in how and for what purposes digital tools are used, by both race and socioeconomic status. In this research, we are particularly interested in what constrains or supports the use of digital tools in promoting critical thinking and new ways of learning; tailoring instruction to student experiences and skill levels; fostering greater student engagement and motivation for learning, and other approaches that could work toward reducing racial and socioeconomic gaps in student educational outcomes.
We are addressing the following three research questions in the context and settings of large, urban public (K-12) schools:
1. How are the digital tools being implemented in practice, and what factors in their implementation impede or support student access to quality learning opportunities and reduce gaps in access (by race and socioeconomic status)?
2. What associations do we observe, quantitative and qualitative, between the implementation and student use of digital tools and student achievement outcomes and gaps in outcomes (by race and socioeconomic status)?
3. What policies and strategies at the district, school and classroom levels hold the most promise for increasing the effectiveness of digital tools in improving student achievement and in reducing inequalities in access and gaps in student outcomes?