16 SES 01 A, Research on K-12 Students' Digital Competence
The increasing presence of technology in many areas of our lives has affected and changed the way we work and interact with others. Due to these rapid changes, the educational systems in many countries have included information and communication technology (ICT) as a part of the national curricula, and labeled the competent use of it as “ICT literacy”. ICT literacy has been outlined in several national and international frameworks (Claro et al., 2012; Ferrari, 2013), and typically comprises competence areas such as information, content-creation, communication, safety, and problem solving. At the same time, inequalities in students’ levels of ICT literacy – that is the so-called “digital divide” (van Dijk, 2006) – has gained considerable attention. Differences in ICT literacy across students’ socio-economic status (SES) and gender have been pointed out as two sources of the digital divide. In fact, students’ socio-economic background, including the language spoken at home, the number of books at home, the parents’ educational level, household income, access to ICT, and academic aspirations, has been identified as a significant predictor of ICT literacy (Hatlevik & Gudmundsdottir, 2013), independent of students’ access to and frequency of ICT use.
Even though, overall positive effects of SES on students’ ICT literacy have been identified across studies, there is little knowledge about the size and variations in these effects. Furthermore, research on gender differences abounds with conflicting findings. A number of studies identified differences in favor of girls (Fraillon et al., 2014), while others have reported differences in favor of boys (Calvani, Fini, Ranieri, & Picci, 2012). Moreover, there are also studies on assessment of ICT literacy which could not identify gender differences (Claro et al., 2012). These inconsistent findings warrant in-depth examinations of the relations between students’ ICT literacy achievement and their SES and gender in order to understand inequalities in ICT literacy.
In a recently published systematic review, Siddiq and colleagues (2016) examined ICT literacy assessments and found that these assessments, by and large, measure only specific aspects of ICT literacy, yet not all the competence areas of existing ICT literacy frameworks (Ferrari, 2013). This study also revealed that the competence area information is most frequently measured, whereas, there are few tests which measure students’ digital communication, collaboration, safety, and problem solving competences. Hence, the opposing findings on gender and ICT literacy score may be due to the reporting of ICT literacy score as a composite scale, even though it consists of several competence areas.
The present meta-analysis consequently investigates the gender differences and the effect of SES on students’ ICT literacy by taking a detailed view on the construct. To our knowledge, a synthesis of this kind is still lacking in the existing body of research, and could provide more detailed insights into relevant issues related to the digital divide, that otherwise would not be readily available or obvious from individual studies (Fan & Chen, 2001). In particular, the study addresses the following research questions:
- What is the effect of SES on the competence areas within the ICT literacy framework? Are there discrepancies between the effects of SES on the competence areas versus ICT literacy reported as a composite scale?
- How can the gender differences in students’ achievement on the competence areas within the ICT literacy framework be described? Do these findings differ significantly from gender differences reported on ICT literacy as a composite scale?
Borenstein, M., Hedges, L. V., Higgins, J. P. T., & Rothstein, H. R. (2009). Introduction to meta-analysis. Chichester, UK:Wiley Calvani, A., Fini, A., Ranieri, M., & Picci, P. (2012). Are young generations in secondary school digitally competent? A study on Italian teenagers. Computers & Education, 58, 797–807. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2011.10.004 Claro, M., Preiss, D. D., San Martín, E., Jara, I., Hinostroza, J. E., Valenzuela, S., et al. (2012). Assessment of 21st-century ICT skills in Chile: Test design and results from high school level students. Computers & Education, 59, 1042–1053. Fan, X., Chen, M. (2001). Parental involvement and students’ academic achievement: A Meta-Analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 13(1), 1-22. Ferrari, A. (2013). DIGCOMP: A framework for developing and understanding digital competence in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. doi:10.2788/52966 Fraillon, J., Ainley, J., Schulz, W., Friedman, T., & Gebhardt, E. (2014). Preparing for life in a digital age. The IEA International Computer and Information Literacy Study, international report. IEA: Springer Open. Griffin, P., McGaw, B., & Care, E. (2012). Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills. Melbourne, Australia: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-2324-5 Hatlevik, O. E., & Gudmundsdottir, G. B. (2013). An emerging digital divide in urban school children’s information literacy: Challenging equity in the Norwegian school system. First Monday, 18, 4. doi:10.5210/fm.v18i4.4232 Hohlfeld, T. N., Ritzhaupt, A. D., & Barron, A. E. (2013). Are gender differences in perceived and demonstrated technology literacy significant? It depends on the model. Education Tech Research Dev, 61, 639–663. doi:10.1007/s11423-013-9304-7 Huedo-Medina, T. B., Sánchez-Meca, J., Marín-Martínez, F., & Botella, J. (2006). Assessing heterogeneity in meta-analysis: Q statistic or I2 index? Psychological Methods, 11, 193–206. doi:10.1037/1082-989X.11.2.193 Meelissen, M. R. M., & Drent, M. (2008). Gender differences in computer attitudes: Does the school matter? Computers in Human Behavior, 24(3), 969–985. OECD. (2001). Schooling for tomorrow. Learning to change: ICT in schools. Education and skills. Paris: OECD. Sáinz, M., & Eccles, J. (2012). Self-concept of computer and math ability: Gender implications across time and within ICT studies. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80(2), 486–499. Siddiq, F., Hatlevik, O. E., Olsen, R. V., Throndsen, I., & Scherer, R. (2016). Taking a future perspective by learning from the past—A systematic review of assessment instruments that aim to measure primary and secondary school students’ ICT literacy. Educational Research Review, 19, 58-84. doi:10.1016/j.edurev.2016.05.002 Van Dijk, J. (2006). Digital divide research, achievements and shortcomings. Poetics, 34(4–5), 221–235. doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2006.05.004
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