Internet instruction favored more by wealthy than poor Americans

A fascinating opinion poll released January 29, 2014 by Harris Interactive and Everest College says that high-income Americans are more open to learning over the Internet than low-income Americans. Both groups prefer hands-on learning as their first choice (52% of Americans listed active participation through hands-on training as the best learning method). But the Internet came in second for high-income Americans. Thirty percent of American households earning more than $100,000 said they learn best over the Internet. Only 18% of Americans with household incomes below $35,000 said they learn best over the Internet.

What fascinates me is that computerized instruction is sometimes found to be more effective with low-income students (see this Raz-Kids app study) and many low-income charter schools are charging ahead with using iPads in the classroom (see this and this story). So the families that are most likely to be exposed to so-called digital learning might be the most skeptical about its efficacy. And maybe that explains why some low income families don’t encourage their children to use educational software at home. I wonder if the so-called digital divide is not just about low-income Americans not having access to high-speed Internet and computers, but there’s also a psychological resistance at play?

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POSTED BY Jill Barshay ON January 29, 2014

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