Digital inequalities: Homework gap and techno-capital in Austin, Texas

  • Melissa Santillana
  • Joe Sraubhaar
  • Alexis Schrubbe
  • Jaewon Choi
  • Sharon Strover

Abstract

The homework gap is a term that has come to describe the 15 percent or more of American children who cannot complete their homework after the school day ends because they lack access to broadband and computers (Anderson and Perrin, 2018). This statistic encompasses different economic, socio-cultural, and geographic factors. As a result, historically underprivileged groups of children are overrepresented in the homework gap space. Children without access to high-speed Internet or computers at home face challenges in school achievement. This study investigates the cultural, social, and technological aspects that contribute to the homework gap. The results are based on data from a survey conducted in collaboration with the city of Austin, Texas and several non-profit organizations that offer Internet and technology services to disadvantaged communities. The goal of this study is to investigate the role that demographics, technological skills, and attitudes toward technology play in the homework gap. We find that education and income levels are negatively correlated with high levels of homework gap, while age is positively correlated. Moreover, the possession of intermediate levels of techno-capital is inversely correlated to parents and caregivers’ perceptions of the homework gap.

Author Biographies

Joe Sraubhaar

Amon G. Carter Centennial Professor of Communications in the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin

Alexis Schrubbe

Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Radio Television and Film at the University of Texas at Austin

Jaewon Choi

Ph.D. student in the Department of Radio Television and Film at the University of Texas at Austin

Sharon Strover

Philip G. Warner Regents Professor in Communication and Director of the Technology and Information Policy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin

Published
2020-06-26
How to Cite
Santillana, M., Sraubhaar, J., Schrubbe, A., Choi, J., & Strover, S. (2020). Digital inequalities: Homework gap and techno-capital in Austin, Texas. First Monday, 25(7). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v25i7.10860