The notion of a digital divide between Internet haves and have-nots has now evolved into the broader concept of digital inequality. Based on this framework, people get greater or fewer opportunities from Internet use according to their cultural, social and professional resources. However, empirical research has focused mainly on the description of Internet usage between different social groups, without testing whether these differences actually translate into social inequalities. In this study we use learning outcomes as a proxy for high-school students’ future social opportunities. Using the Italian dataset of the PISA 2009 survey we test whether students from advantaged social backgrounds gain more benefits from Internet use than their less privileged counterparts. The results show that using the Internet for schoolwork does not prove to have different impacts on students’ learning outcomes depending on their social background. The challenges of these results for theories of digital inequality are discussed.
Is the Internet creating a ‘learning gap’ among students? Evidence from the Italian PISA data
Gui M., Micheli M., Fiore B. (2014) "Is the Internet creating a ‘learning gap’ among students? Evidence from the Italian PISA data " Italian Journal of Sociology of Education, 6(1), 1-24. DOI: 10.14658/PUPJ-IJSE-2014-1-1
Year of Publication
Italian Journal of Sociology of Education
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