Matt Rafalow, a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, recently published a book describing how race and class impact teachers’ digital expectations for their students.
For “Digital Divisions: How Schools Create Inequality in the Tech Era,” Rafalow researched three middle schools in California, each equipped with similar technological infrastructure but composed of different demographic makeups.
While the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has recently given rise to conversations about digital learning in many communities, Rafalow’s research was conducted many years prior, during the 2013-2014 academic year.
Technological use, even video games and social media, was viewed by teachers at a school largely composed of wealthy, white students as being “essential to learning,” Rafalow said in an email.
According to Rafalow, at a middle-class, predominantly Asian American school, teachers viewed their students’ use of technology as “threatening” to learning.
Lastly, at a school where Latino students from mainly working-class families made