You are here:

The sociocultural impact of technology on adult immigrant English as asecond language learners

, The University of Arizona, United States

The University of Arizona . Awarded


For immigrant adult learners, learning English is not only for survival and functioning in the target language (TL) culture, but it is also a means of being able to successfully deal with the inequitable power structures in place in the larger society which deny them access to the culture's social, economic, and political resources (Norton, 2000). In the United States, the computer is a culturally valued resource and tool used by TL speakers, yet this valued resource is not easily accessible to immigrant adults due to their limited language ability, lack of experience with computers, and/or financial reasons; thus, putting them at an immediate socioeconomic disadvantage in this country. Nevertheless, researchers have argued that today's language learners must know how to read, write and communicate through electronic mediums due to the computer's prevalence in many aspects of modern life (Warschauer, 2005).

The purpose of this study is to explore the impact of technology on adult immigrant learners as they learn how to use computers formally for the first time within an English as a Second Language curriculum. Specifically, the study seeks to discover which factors contribute to successful computer literacy acquisition, the impact of computer literacy acquisition to their identities, and which pedagogical practices are best suited for this population. The research project took place at a local community college and looked at 25 students, focusing in on five case-profile learners. Using Lave & Wenger's (1991) Situated Learning Theory and Norton's (1995) Theory of Investment, Social Identity and Power as a means of examining the above issues, the findings provide evidence that teachers need to consider learners' identities when designing and implementing a computer literacy curriculum. This research also calls attention to the necessity of implementing a computer literacy course within an ESL curriculum so that students can learn language and computer literacy in an ESL supportive environment attentive to their specific needs. Moreover, the study points to the need for instructors to be more aware of their own cultural and learning style biases and how they affect learner participation in this population of students.


Saltourides, E. The sociocultural impact of technology on adult immigrant English as asecond language learners. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Arizona. Retrieved March 24, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

For copies of dissertations and theses: (800) 521-0600/(734) 761-4700 or