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Predictors of creative computing participation and profiles of experience in two Silicon Valley middle schools

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Computers & Education Volume 54, Number 1, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Examination of the “digital divide” has increasingly gone beyond the study of differences in physical access to computers to focus on individuals’ use of technological tools for empowered and generative uses. In this research study, we investigated the relationship between access to tools and experience with creative production activities. Our participants included 160 8th grade learners from two public middle schools. 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 students’ history of creative production experiences within both communities. Three sets of analyses were completed. First, the two school populations were compared with respect to average levels of student creative production experience, access to tools at home, use of learning resources, frequency of technology use, and access to computing outside of their home. Second, correlates of variability in individuals’ breadth of experience with creative production activities were explored across both schools through a regression analysis. The resulting model indicated that students’ experience was 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; 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 interest in learning more about technology.


Barron, B., Walter, S.E., Martin, C.K. & Schatz, C. (2010). Predictors of creative computing participation and profiles of experience in two Silicon Valley middle schools. Computers & Education, 54(1), 178-189. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved January 28, 2023 from .

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