Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Instructional Technology

Major Professor

Ann E. Barron, Ed.D.


Low socioeconomic, Technology, Computers, Software, Access


Over the past twenty years, there has been an enormous financial investment in technology for K-12 schools to help bridge the digital divide between high and low socioeconomic (SES) students. These investments have included hardware, software, professional development, and research studies on the effectiveness of technology in the classroom. This dissertation explored the essential conditions for the integration of technology, access, student-centered learning environment, and teacher use in the curriculum. Florida's elementary schools were divided into quartiles based on free and reduced lunch to investigate differences between the top quartile of high SES schools (n=400) and the lower quartile of low SES (schools n=396). The first research question investigated students' access to technology by specifically concentrating on their access to computers in high and low SES schools.

A statistically significant difference was found between students' access to modern computer labs and modern laptop computers. However, there were no significant differences in access to modern classroom computers. When looking at software on student computers, a statistically significant difference between high and low SES schools was found in the availability of both basic tool-based software and robust tool-based software. These data mirrored the statistically significant difference for frequency of use for tool-based software at high and low SES schools. Data on the teacher use of technology in the curricular framework of the classroom showed a statistically significant difference in the curriculum-focused use of technology, between high and low SES schools. This study is a building block for further examination of the digital divide that exists between high and low SES schools. This divide appears to include low expectations for students in low SES schools through regular exposure to drill and practice software, while students in schools with high-SES populations have more opportunities to utilize tool-based software.