Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Judith Harris


Socioeconomically disadvantaged and African American students consistently perform lower on literacy assessments that measure reading and writing achievement than their dominant culture peers. The changing nature of literacy itself is making this literacy problem even more challenging. Competencies for interacting in digital contexts, identified as new literacies, are necessary to effectively read, write, and communicate using the Internet and other information and communication technologies [ICTs]. According to extant literature, African Americans and socioeconomically disadvantaged students are more likely than their dominant culture peers to use digital technologies to build traditional literacy (Au, 2006; Harwood & Asal, 2007).;Teachers have an important role in providing all students with the technological experiences that will allow them to be literate in the 21st century (IRA, 2009). The changing nature of literacy underscores the importance of professional development for literacy and technology integration (Karchmer, 2001; Watts-Taffe & Gwinn, 2007). The purpose of this study was to understand how and why teachers may engage students from a socioeconomically disadvantaged school with a predominately African American student population in different digital technological literacy experiences than students from a more socioeconomically advantaged school with a large percentage of African American students. The study focused especially on the roles professional development may play in creating students' inequitable experiences with new literacies.;Examined through the lens of Kincheloe and McLaren's (2005) reconceptualized critical theory: hegemony and ideology, this research study discovered educational practices, including professional development about literacy and technology integration, that have possible roles in reproducing inequalities in education.



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