The Effect of Parent Education on Student Technology Access
Jared N. Gliem
Shippensburg University, Shippensburg Pennsylvania

1 Problem Statement

The purpose of this proposal is to determine if parental post secondary education influences student technology access at home. As technology has become more prevalent within our education system, concerns have arisen related to student preparedness and prerequisite skills necessary to effectively utilize technology as a learning tool. Educators have observed that along with the increased prevalence of technology in education, some students are being observed being less and less prepared to utilize this technology. The goal of this research is to investigate whether or not parents’ years of post secondary education have any bearing on the deficit of student prerequisite technology skills by means accessibility to such education at home.

2 Hypothesis

Students whose parents have received more years of post secondary education will have greater access to technology outside of school and therefore attain more prerequisite skills necessary to effectively utilize technology in school.

3 Literature Review

In an effort to maximize student achievement, school districts all across the country have begun using technology in their classrooms. While research on the affects of such educational technology are ongoing, most results yield to simple conclusions; technology does increase student achievement and that technology does not have a strong affect on student achievement. Harvard & Du (2005) recognized that “while there appear to be statistical variations in computer-related academic results, using computers at school resulted in little increased value to overall achievement” (p. 2). Harvard & Du are not the only ones who yielded unclear results.
Knight (2008) concluded that “the combined results do not provide a clear correlation between technology and student standardized achievement scores” (p. 5).
Though there exists inconclusive research on the topic of technology affects on student achievement, other results have concluded quite the opposite. Page (2002) maintains that “mathematics achievement, composite self-esteem, school self-esteem, and general self-esteem showed statistically significant differences, favoring the treatmnent group” (p. 4) which was utilizing school wide technologies in comparison to the control group. Positive effects on student achievement have also been apparent in other research. Schachter’s (1999) summary of research results indicated that “these studies show in over 700 empirical research studies, students with access to (technology at school) showed positive gains in achievement on researcher constructed tests, standardized tests, and national tests” (p. 9).
Overall achievement is not the only concern with technology. Research also claims that technology is a contributing factor to inequality amongst districts, schools, and students. Rooney (2011) made it clear that “the digital divide gap between low and high socioeconomic public elementary schools is incomparable” (p. 3). Evidence of technology creating a dividing line within education is so apparent that districts are looking to research to help their guide their funding for technology in their schools. Kemker (2008) recognized that “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” (p. 6). In recognizing this divide, other research has set out to investigate the cause of the digital divide amongst student populations. Harvard & Du (2005) realized that “racial-ethnic minorities and children of low socioeconomic status without access to home computers lagged behind” (p. 2). What has caused this gap amongst out diverse student populations? This research sets out to begin to examine possible causes of such divides in technology by investigating the amount of accessible technology at home available to students and comparing that to the number of combined years of postsecondary education of caregivers.

4 Research Design

Each student will be given one questionnaire; one for each set of primary caregivers selected by the students. Each student will anonymously complete the questionnaire and mark to the best of their ability 1) the number of combined years of postsecondary education attained by their two primary caregivers and 2) which forms of technology do they currently have access to at home. Research will be completed in the form of a qualitative non-experimental correlational survey.

5 Participants

The researcher will be using students from within the Central Dauphin School District’s four middle schools, Swatara, Linglestown, East Middle, and Central Dauphin Middle School for this sample. Students will be surveyed within their homerooms.

6 Procedure

Each participating student will receive and complete on questionnaire. Scores will be calculated by graphing the number of years of parental postsecondary education versus the total number of pieces of technology available to that student at home. Data will be analyzed and compared to yield that conclusion of the study and to investigate whether or not a statistically significant correlation can be found amongst the data. Required materials for the survey will include questionnaires for students, pencils with which to complete the survey, survey administrators, and a computer with Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet software to analyze and to graph the data.

7 Data Collection

Qualitative data will be collected using the provided student questionnaire/ survey. Data points will be obtained from the combined number of years of postsecondary education by the primary caregivers i.e. questionnaire question number one and from question number two where one point value for each marked technology accessible at home will be totaled.

8 Data Analysis

The qualitative survey data will be plotted on a graph upon the x and y axis’s in order to calculate correlational coefficient that will be calculated to identify a statistically significant correlation amongst the data points.

9 Results Prediction

My prediction, though difficult to make any prediction before data is analyzed, is that there will be a statistically significant correlation amongst the data. I believe that access to technology is somehow linked to the education of primary caregivers.

Correlational Survey Student Questionnaire
School District:
School Name:

1. Considering your two primary caregivers, whoever you deem them to be, to the best of your ability, circle the number of years total those two people combined have attended postsecondary institutions after high school (college, university, community college, technical school, etc.)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

2. Below, place an X next to each piece of technology that you have access to at your home. If you do NOT have access to that technology at your home, please leave it blank.

_Shared computer without internet
_Shared computer with high speed internet
_Personal computer without high speed internet
_Personal computer with high speed internet
_Game system (Xbox 360, Nintento Wii, Playstation III)
_Game system (Xbox 360, Nintento Wii, Playstation III) with internet connection
_Ebook Reader (Nook, Kindle, etc.)
_Apple Tablet
_Cell phone
_Cell phone/smartphone with internet connection

Havard, B. & Du, J. (2005). Technology Access and Use at School and Student Academic Achievement. In C. Crawford et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2005 (pp. 750-753). Chesapeake, VA: AACE

Kemker, K. (2008). Technology in Low Socio-Economic K-12 Schools: Examining Student Access and Implementation. PrQuest Information and Learning Company. Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Knight, Uvella. (2008). The Relationship Between Capacity, Usage, and Access of Technology and Student Achievement. Northcentral University, 0-72.

Page, M. (2002). Technology-Enriched Classrooms: Effects on Students of Low Socioeconomic Status. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 34(4), 398-410.

Rooney, S. (2011), A Study of the Effects of Integrating Instructional Technology on Student Achievement in Low Socioeconomic Status Elementary Schools. Capella University, 0-116.

Schachter, J. (1999). The Impact of Education Technology on Student Achievement: What the Most Current Research Has to Say. Milken Exchange on Education Technology (pp.1-12). Santa Monica, CA.