If the promise of mobile technology in classrooms has been to equalize opportunities for all students through access to the internet, that potential has yet to be realized.
National surveys consistently show that students in low-income schools are getting short-changed when it comes to using technology in school. A 2013 Pew study revealed that only 35 percent of teachers at the lowest income schools allow their students to look up information on their mobile devices, as compared to 52 percent of teachers at wealthier schools. And while 70 percent of teachers working in high income areas say their schools do a good job providing resources and support to effectively integrate technology into the classroom, only 50 percent of teachers in low-income areas agree.
The reality is that while some teachers have found powerful ways to use mobile devices — both those owned by students and those purchased by the school — teachers at schools in very low-income areas are often battling a persistent student culture of disengagement. Many students have learning gaps that make it hard for them to stay interested in grade level materials and little desire to be in school at all.