As teachers, we have seen the impact of the digital divide on our students.
The book sheds additional light on the use of ICT in schools as a solution to the present educational crisis and, ironically, also as a source of the crisis when digital divides are considered. This book focuses on the intersection between educational inequality and the digital divide. I ask the following research questions: How does the use of digital technology influence the well-being of secondary students, including their academic performance, learning attitudes, mental health, and digital competence? Who is being excluded from digital learning? How large are the socioeconomic gaps in digital access and ICT use? Although these questions are not new, previous studies have produced inconclusive results on the relationship between adolescents’ ICT use and their well-being. The systematic meta-analytic review of the research literature and cross-national comparative examination of adolescents across a wide range of developed societies allow us to understand the inconsistent findings of previous studies and to articulate the relationships between adolescents’ ICT use and their well-being. However, there are no simple answers to the research questions. By analyzing data from 28 developed countries—which represent the most affluent regions of the world—I offer a clear and comprehensive sketch of the effects of the digital divides on adolescent students.
The analyses found that the relationships between ICT use and well-being are sometimes stronger for socioeconomically advantaged students, and sometimes stronger for their disadvantaged counterparts. The effects depend on whether ICT is used at home or in school, how it is used, student outcomes, and the societies in the analysis. These variations are not random. In each empirical chapter, I explain the patterns of the variations. The concluding chapter explains the implications of these patterns.
Many schools were closed, reopened, and closed again during the pandemic. In the two years since COVID-19 struck, we learned that some students prefer online learning to in-person instruction. Some subjects are easier than others to teach online. Variations among individual students and subjects, in light of the empirical findings, have important policy implications: Curriculum design is not a binary choice between online and in-person instruction, but should maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of e-learning. Accommodations for different learning styles can help students learn in the most effective way, and educators should factor subject areas into curriculum designs. This book explores these policy directions and the challenges educators may face.
評論人/ Discussant：馬國勳 Josef Kuo-Hsun Ma, Simon Cheng