An examination of seven years of technology integration in Florida schools: Through the lens of the Levels of Digital Divide in Schools
Abstract The purpose of this longitudinal research is to document the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) integration patterns in the state of Florida in relation to the Socio-Economic Status (SES) and school type (Elementary, Middle, and High Schools). This research is characterized by the Levels of Digital Divide in Schools model presented by Hohlfeld, Ritzhaupt, Barron, and Kemker (2008). We use seven years of secondary data collected by the Florida Department of Education: Technology Resource Inventory (TRI), and the percentage of students on Free-and-Reduced Lunch as a proxy for SES. The current study uses descriptive statistics, internal consistency reliability, exploratory factor analysis, and longitudinal multi-level models to examine the trends in ICT integration in the state of Florida by SES (High and Low) in each school type (Elementary, Middle, and High) over the seven-year period. Our results suggest that Florida has improved on several indicators related to the digital divide; however, some important differences still exist. For instance, Low-SES students generally use software more for computer-directed activities such as drill and practice or remedial work, while their High-SES counterparts are using software more for student-controlled activities such as creating with or communicating through technology. We discuss our findings in relation to the three-level model presented by Hohlfeld et al. (2008) and make recommendations to relevant stakeholders within the community.