Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

S. Hollingworth, A. Mansaray, K. Allen, A. Rose, (2011) “Parents’ perspectives on technology and children’s learning in the home: social class and the role of the habitus”, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning Volume 27, Issue 4, pages 347–360, August 2011

Sociologists of education highlight that parent’s ability to engage with their children’s education and learning is not a straightforward issue. Drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, this paper attempts to open up a space for examination of the differential experiences of parents from different social class backgrounds, of technology in the home, and how this informs the potential they see for family learning using technology. We use Bourdieu’s concepts of ‘cultural and economic capital’ and ‘habitus’ to explore several themes. Firstly, the paper explores the impact of material inequalities of access on families and how this structures parental engagement with technology in relation to their children’s schooling; secondly, how the harms and risks of technology are differentially experienced, negotiated and managed by parents from different social class backgrounds – with varying amounts of social and cultural resources available to them; thirdly, through discussion of the ‘generation gap’, we examine the significance of the parents’ working lives (in terms of the privileged forms of engagement with technology, which professional employment increasingly requires and facilitates) in shaping parents’ own relationships to education and learning.

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