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Digital Diversity

Youth, Equity, and Information Technology

Edited by E. Dianne Looker & Ted D. Naylor
Subjects Education, Technology & Engineering, Social Science, Sociology, Cultural Studies
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Paperback : 9781554581856, 204 pages, August 2010
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554582860, 204 pages, August 2010

Table of contents

Table of Contents for
Digital Diversity: Youth, Equity, and Information Technology, edited by E. Dianne Looker and Ted D. Naylor

Chapter 1: Introduction | E. Dianne Looker and Ted D. Naylor

Chapter 2: Digital Distance: Geographic and Cultural Divides in Access and Use of Computers and the Internet | E. Dianne Looker

Chapter 3: Bridging and Bonding Social Capital: Computer and Internet Use among Youth in Relation to Their Cultural Identities | Victor Thiessen and E. Dianne Looker

Chapter 4: Gendered Technologies as Divide, Diversity, and Distraction | Brian Campbell and Alyssa Henning

Chapter 5: In the “Ditch” or on the Proverbial “Information Highway”: An Investigation of Equity and Technological Literacies in the Preparation and Practice of Teachers | Ted D. Naylor and Blye W. Frank

Chapter 6: Maybe It’s Not the Teachers? Investigating the Problem of ICT Integration into Education | E. Dianne Looker and Ted D. Naylor

Chapter 7: “Being hooked up”: Exploring the Experiences of Street Youth and Information Technologies | Jeff Karabanow and Ted D. Naylor



Contributors’ Bios

Brian Lewis Campbell is a sociologist who is interested in the sociology of science and technology and the sociology of education. These general interests have come together in the study of technology diffusion and translation in education with special attention to the relationship between information technology use and social inequality. Campbell is a professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) but spends most of his time as associate provost and dean of graduate studies.

Blye W. Frank is a professor and head of the Division of Medical Education and the head of the Department of Bioethics in the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University. He has worked with faculties of medicine and health professions across Canada toward the promotion of diversity and cultural competency in the medical/health education environment. He is also a recognized expert in the field of gender studies. Dr. Frank is chair of the CIHR Institute of Gender and Health Institute Advisory Board.

Alyssa Henning was a research assistant in the Equity and Technology Research Alliance project on digital divide issues. She has a B. A. in criminology and justice studies from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and an M. A. in public policy and administration from Ryerson University. She now works in the public sector in project coordination for non-profit agencies.

Jeff Karabanow is a full professor at Dalhousie University. He has worked with homeless young people in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, and Guatemala. He has published numerous academic articles about housing stability, service delivery systems, street health, and homeless youth culture. He has also completed a film documentary that looks at the plight of street youth in Guatemala City and two animated shorts on street life in Canada. His most recent work is a book titled Voices from the Streets: How Canadian Homeless Young People are Getting Off the Street (forthcoming).

E. Dianne Looker, professor of Sociology and Canada Research Chair in Equity and Technology at Mount Saint Vincent University, has undertaken several longitudinal surveys dealing with youth in a changing society, with particular focus on rural–urban differences. She has provided expert advice to numerous policy groups and government departments. Her recent work looks at ways in which the shift to a more information society has affected equity for subgroups of youth in Canada and abroad.

Ted D. Naylor is a research manager and associate with the Atlantic Centre for the Study of the Information Society, Mount Saint Vincent University. A mixed-methods researcher with a diverse publication record, Naylor works on a variety of research projects in both the public and private sector. He is currently completing an interdisciplinary Ph. D. at Dalhousie University.

Victor Thiessen is professor emeritus in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University, and academic director of the Atlantic Research Data Centre. His work in the past twenty years has focused on youth transitions, an area in which he has published extensively. His current investigations focus on the various pathways along which young Canadians navigate their way from schooling to employment.


Digital Diversity: Youth, Equity, and Information Technology is about youth, schools, and the use of technology. Youth are instrumental in finding novel ways to access and use technology. They are directly affected by changes such as the proliferation of computers in schools and elsewhere, and the increasingly heavy use of the Internet for both information sharing and for communication.

The contributors to this volume investigate how the resources provided by information and communication technology (ICT) are made available to different groups of young people (as defined by gender, race, rural location, Aboriginal status, street youth status) and how they do (or do not) develop facility and competence with this technology. How does access vary for these different groups of youth? Which young people develop facility with ICT? What impact has this technology had on their learning and their lives? These are among the issues examined. Youth from a wide variety of settings are included in the study, including Inuit youth in the high arctic.

Rather than mandate how youth should/could better use technology (as much of the existing literature does) the contributors focus on how youth and educators are actually using technology. By paying attention to the routine use and understandings of ICTs by youth and those teaching youth, the book highlights the current gaps in policy and practice. It challenges assumptions around the often taken-for-granted links between technology, pedagogy, and educational outcomes for youth in order to highlight a range of important equity issues.


``As a collection, these seven essays challenge conventional assumptions concerning the application of digital media in schools, while examining disparities between educational policies and practices, and highlighting equity issues as they are affected by information technologies. ... Convincing arguments are provided here involving ICT-based pedagogies, how they are transforming our educational system, and how we need to re-think current approaches. Included are lucid and well-argued perspectives on the relative applicability of curriculum-based software and the increasing need for institutional support to better integrate accessible and interactive computer based technologies in the classroom, in order to generate improved student achievements. Wilfrid Laurier University Press is to be commended for its intelligent layout and design of the book. These seven essays include coherent presentations of salient facts and arguments, helpful visual charts and graphics, and detailed numerical tables, along with clearly stated conclusions and tightly worded summative notes. All of these are supported by comprehensive Works Cited pages, contributors' notes, and a detailed and comprehensive index. This insightful set of essays successfully examines the importance of integrating information and communications techonologies within our evolving educational system. ''

- Karl Jirgens, Canadian Literature, 214, Autumn 2012