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Digital DivisionsHow Schools Create Inequality in the Tech Era$
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Matthew H. Rafalow

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226726557

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226726724.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 24 July 2021



(p.1) Introduction
Digital Divisions

Matthew H. Rafalow

University of Chicago Press

This chapter shares central debates surrounding kids’ digital play and technology use in schools, extracting key questions from the literature on digital literacies and social inequality in education. Some educational movements have been revitalized by young adults’ rapid adoption of digital technologies. Their proponents argue that the digital skills children develop through play with peers online are essential to learning and achievement in the 21st century. This seems like an opportunity to circumvent theories of unequal childhoods that point to class differentiated parenting as a source of inequality. Social reproduction theorists argue, however, that schools set the terms for what “counts” as learning, and that schools differently construct their lessons in such a way that guides students into class-differentiated career paths. Thus, this book focuses on a set of research questions that aim to unpack these perspectives: What do teachers and administrators, many of whom are likely to be less digitally adept than their pupils, think of their students’ digital youth culture? Do they see young people’s creative tendencies online as valuable for school, or not? If they do, how exactly are teachers able to cultivate students’ innovative potential in practice? And where do teachers’ notions of students-as-innovators come from?

Keywords:   education technology, cultural capital, teaching, digital literacies, inequality, race and racism, social class and classism, discipline, play

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