Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Jo Tondeur, Ilse Sinnaeve, Mieke van Houtte, & Johan van Braak (2011) ICT as cultural capital: The relationship between socioeconomic status and the computer-use profile of young people; Published in ‘New Media & Society’

This study explores the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and the computer-use profile of 1241 school students in Flanders, the northern region of Belgium. More specifically, the article examines whether varying patterns of computer access, attitudes, competencies and uses can be seen as constituting differences in cultural capital. Additionally, gender was included in the survey as an important background characteristic in digital divide research. Path analysis was used to model the complex relationships between the influencing factors upon the ICT-related variables. What emerged from the analyses was that SES affects the computer-use profile only moderately. No relationship between SES and computer ownership was found. Moreover, the acquisition of ICT competencies can no longer be attributed to computer ownership. Apart from a small effect on ICT use (a higher SES tends to be associated with more ICT use), SES does not seem to affect the computer-use profile of young people in Flanders. The results of this study indicate that the existing differences in SES on computer-use profile are not sufficiently marked to deduce that ICT can be seen as an indicator of differing cultural capital.

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