In one study, 160 eighth-grade learners from two public middle schools reported on their prior experience with technological fluency-building activities and their access to learning resources. The local communities represented by the two schools differed in parent education levels, proportion of recent immigrants, and average family income. Findings indicated substantial variability in history of fluency-building experiences within both communities. Three sets of analyses were completed. Three sets of analyses were completed. First, the two school populations were compared with respect to average levels of student experience, access to tools at home, use of learning resources, frequency of use, and access to computing outside of their home. Second, correlates of variability in the breadth of experience with fluency building activities were explored across both schools through a regression analysis which indicated that students’ experience is best predicted by the number of technology tools available at home, number of learning resources used, frequency of computer use at home, and non-home access network size. In a third analysis, profiles of experience were created based on both breadth and depth of experience and the resulting four groups of students were compared. More experienced students utilized a broader range of learning resources, had access to more tools at home, taught a wider range of people, and were more confident in their computing skills. The groups did not differ in their self-reports of engagement in learning about technology.
Barron, B. (2004). Learning ecologies for technological fluency: Gender and experience differences. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 31(1), 1-36.
Barron. B. (2006). Interest and self-sustained learning as catalysts of development: A learning ecologies perspective. Human Development, 49, 193-224.
Barron, B. (2006). Configurations of learning settings and networks: Implications of a learning ecology perspective. Human Development, 49, 229-231.
Barron, B., Martin, C., & Roberts, E. (2006). Sparking self-sustained learning: Lessons from a design experiment to build technological fluency and bridge divides. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 17, 1, 75-105.
Mercier, E., Barron, B., O’Conner, K. (2006). Images of self and others as computer users: the role of gender and experience. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 22, 1-14.
Barron, B., Martin, C., Takeuchi, L., Fithian, R. (Accepted). Parents as learning partners in the development of technological fluency. To appear in the International Journal of Learning and Media.
The researchers have survey instruments and coding systems that will be shared.