New research finds that teacher responses vary by student race and ethnicity

A sociologist working at Google and UC Berkeley describes results from his new book (pre-dating the pandemic) on the racialized nature of the digital divide—in particular, how teachers interpret students’ pre-existing technological skills in the classroom. The author finds that teachers in predominately white schools encouraged student creativity, initiative, and leveraged student experience with social media, digital content creation, and video games to create educational capital. In minority-serving schools, teachers treated technologically skilled students as troublemakers, and focused on engaging students through noncreative activities, like typing, that would support their later employment in low-wage jobs. The author concludes that the digital divide cannot be solved by improving access to laptops and broadband alone but must also address how teachers’ beliefs about students’ race and class shape whether students’ technological skills are seen as valuable. #education #racialequity

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