Book talk: ‘Digital Divisions: How Schools Create Inequality in the Tech Era’

Monday, April 24, 2023

Noon 1 p.m. PT

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism (ASC), 207

Education researchers struggle with the fact that students arrive at school already shaped by their unequal childhoods. Would we see greater gains among less privileged students if they had a more level playing field? Join author Matt Rafalow of USC Annenberg for this book talk, where he draws on a comparative ethnographic study of three middle schools to address this question, focusing on the case of digital technology use.

In the contemporary moment, kids’ digital skills appear in the form of their digital play with peers, like through social media use, video gaming, and creating online content. Drawing on six hundred hours of observation and over one hundred interviews with teachers, administrators, and students, Rafalow will show how teachers treat these very similar digital skills differently by school demographic. Rafalow also illustrates the ways these social forces at school shape students’ participation online, in and outside of school. Digital Divisions: How Schools Create Inequality in the Tech Era updates class-focused theories of cultural inequality by showing how racism and school organizational culture determine whether students’ digital skills can help them get ahead. 

Food and beverages will be provided.