Interactive Technologies and STEM
Early-Grades Teaching and Learning

Differences in Student Use of Technology for Learning at Higher- and Lower-­Poverty Middle Schools


The use of digital computing devices in classrooms is becoming ubiquitous and an essential part of 21st Century learning. However, the research summarized in this brief suggests that greater or equal access to technology does not necessarily result in equitable learning opportunities for students. Survey data collected during the 2010/2011 school year from middle school students throughout Maine indicate that students in higher-poverty schools used technology for learning in ways that were different from students in lower-poverty schools. In particular, students in higher-poverty schools reported fewer opportunities to develop higher-order thinking skills (such as collaboration, informational synthesis, and presentation) with technology compared to their peers in more affluent schools.