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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to expand the growing body of research on the educational impact of 1:1 mobile devices, investigating the iPad’s potential to reduce the disparity of access to high-quality instructional technology and achievement for low income, racially, and linguistically diverse students.

Design/methodology/approach – This three-year, mixed-method study investigated the degree to which a 1:1 iPad initiative reduced the disparity of technology access and instructional use and improved student learning and attendance. The research design included survey data on student technology skills, experiences and use and teacher focus groups to confirm and contextualize the survey data.

Findings – Across all three years, ninth graders and students who were white, female, eligible for free/reduced lunch and those with stable enrollment were more likely to have an individual iPad (THP). Having a THP was associated with greater satisfaction, ease and frequency of technology use, higher attendance and GPA.

Research limitations/implications – Inequitable distribution, inconsistent administrative support, and uneven faculty support for iPads limit generalizability.

Practical implications – This research identifies barriers to successful technology integration and impact on student achievement including inequitable access, inconsistent administrative and teacher support, and limited professional development.

Originality/value – This research focuses on an issue of digital equity that has not yet been studied in depth with 1:1 iPads and investigates students’ technology access, experiences and use to support student achievement in a high poverty, highly diverse high school.


Originally published in International Journal of Information and Learning Technology

ISSN: 2056-4880

Publication date: 6 November 2017

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