Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

Patricia Daniel Jones, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Cheryl R. Ellerbrock, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Janet Richards, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jenifer Schneider, Ph.D.


culturally responsive teaching, digital literacy, English language arts, narrative, technology, stage-environment fit


Technology use in high-minority, low-income middle school ELA classrooms is defined by traditional instructional practices (Applebee & Langer, 2013; Attewell, 2001; Boser, 2013; Cuban, 2001; Lankshear & Knobel, 2008), barriers to access (O’Dwyer et al., 2005; Purcell et al., 2013; Warschauer & Matuchniak, 2010), and inequalities in use (Banister & Reinhart, 2011; Beers, 2004; Gorski, 2009; Makinen, 2006; Powell, 2007; Reinhart et al., 2011; Dijk, 2003, 2006; Warschauer et al., 2004). This characterization, or grand narrative, of technology use is echoed and challenged by this narrative inquiry. Here the stories of two ELA teachers frequently using technology in instruction and working in a high-minority, low-income middle school are examined, guided by the following research puzzle:

What might I learn about teaching with technology from two middle school ELA teachers utilizing technology in a high-minority, low-income school? In what ways might participants’ stories mirror or differ from the grand narrative of technology use in high-minority, low-income middle schools? In what ways might this inquiry expand general knowledge of technology use in high-minority, low-income, middle-level classrooms?

The resulting narratives are considered in terms of culturally responsive teaching (Delpit, 1994, 1995; Gay, 2000; Irvine, 2002; 2003; Ladson-Billings, 2006), digital literacy (Gilster, 1997; Knobel & Lankshear, 2006; Martin, 2008), and stage-environment fit theory (Eccles & Midgely, 1989; Eccles et al., 1993; Eccles & Roeser, 2011). Findings from this inquiry suggest technology increases engagement and is a distraction, technology makes teaching easier, and barriers hinder technology use.