Introduction and Rationale For my final literature review I will examine a selection of literature about technology bias.

This topic is something that is very important to me both as a student and as an educator. I have a hard time imagining that technology is culturally neutral. I feel that it is fairly obvious that what seems normal for one group might not be for another. One doesn’t necessarily have to look at cultures to see this divide, it could be found between generations, sexes or religion. My key argument is that if you have one group, or culture, that designs a technological tool they will likely design it to work with their systems and beliefs, representing their needs. “Similarity, it is the nature of the computer that determines which patters of thinking, communication, or experiencing will be reinforced as well as which patterns will be marginalized or represented as nonexistent.” (Bowers, et al, p.186) This clearly leads to issues when other cultures who do not share these system or beliefs use this technology. I have worked in a variety of schools as a technology teacher and am always surprised at how certain students learn with technology at different rates than others. Why is this? Is it solely academic or is there another reason? In general the main view of the articles that I researched was that computers are used to enhance learning, to make it more meaningful for students. It was more difficult to find articles that had a cultural approach on technology. Most of the articles examined consisted of studies of typical students from average social economic statuses using data and studies to formulate opinion. It was difficult to find articles, research and journals that concentrated on learners from different cultural, gender or socio-economic backgrounds. However I was able to find some and a selection of these are examined in this review. The information that they presented were extremely relevant and mainly concentrated on the cultural significance of computers and the inherent technology bias that they have. After all, computers were created by the dominant culture for the dominant cultures use. This needs to be taken into account in any study that involves learners from different cultures and computers. Article One: Bowers, titled “Native People and the challenge of computers” Synopsis This article explores the challenges that First Nations cultures in Canada and Mexico have with computers. This is a very thoughtful article about bias and technology with a cultural slant. Key arguments such as technology being culturally appropriate are examined. According to Bowers, et al (3) “The rationale for using technology involving traditions and culture, and therefore the community, is to interest and motivate the students, bring the school and community closer together, create needed resources for the community, and enhance understanding between students, staff, and other people in the community” Main Argument and Research methods This article provides a very nice counterpoint to the other articles that were reviewed in this review. Most articles used raw data and student testing to make their statements. This article used first person

interviews and observations to create its conclusion. A key argument that the article makes is that the majority of educators are unaware of the bias that using computers can have on a student. According to Bowers, et al” Teacher education programs reinforce the idea that computers are a culturally neutral technology ushering us into the Information Age. (Bowers) ”. This article brings up some excellent points about the way that non-white students are educated providing an excellent counterpoint to many of the prevalent hard data research articles that concentrate on student achievement. Issues A key issue that I had with this article was it did not use research data in great detail. Its information was taken primarily from interviews and academic research. More hard data about First Nations students and technology was not necessarily needed but would have made the paper stronger. Another issue was that the article was biased. There was little doubt that this paper was going to be negative about the use of computers with First Nations learners. Article two: Miller L. M., Schweingruber H., & Brandenburg, C. L. (2001). Middle school

students’ technology practices and preferences
Synopsis. This article is a standard data collection research article that examines the use of technology practices and academic achievement in middle school aged students with an emphasis on gender. The authors

explore the differences in how boys and girls approach the internet and computers as an educational tool. The data collected is from a variety of different schools with different soci-economic
statuses which makes it very relevant. The overall research is of high quality and the authors do come to some interesting conclusionsMain Argument and Research methods:

Main Argument and Research methods

Miller, Schweingruber and Brandenburg (2001, p.126) state that “Studies throughout the 1990’s found relatively similar evidence of differential perceptions of computer use Giaquinta, Bauer and Levin (1993) found that boys conceptualize computers differently than girls.” The article examines many different factors that cause boys and girls to have different internet behaviours. The key argument that is found throughout the article is that boys are seen as computer savvy and females are seen as less likely to embrace computer technology. This is an excellent example of technology bias. This information is collected from research taken from the period of 1985 through 1997. This is the key argument that is found throughout the article.
The study was conducted in Houston, TX in a variety of public and private schools with different socieconomic status, thus making the study very relevant to the focus of this review. The data is analysed in great detail. An example of the excellent use of this data is in Table 4 where boys were found to be less likely than girls to use computers for word processing (58.4% to 53.7%). Another dramatic result is that

boys are less likely to use computers for school work (60.1% girls, 45.8% boys). This is despite the bias the authors show about boys being more adept in technology. Issues

Overall the survey is fair and unbiased. The authors are consistent in the amount of information they devote to boys and girls. Miller, Schweingruber and Brandenburg (2001, p.131) state “The prevalence of computers in both homes and schools is remarkably high. A large percentage of the students, with no significant difference between genders, reported that they used a computer at home (84.1% of girls and 80.7% of boys).” The main issue is that the percentages of students based on gender and type of school are not represented adequately and thus have likely skewered the results somewhat. The data could have been presented in a more in-depth nature concentrating on the socio-economic factors of the students for a more accurate result. .
It is not a perfect paper, there are no suggestions on how to improve the discussed issues. As well the research does need to be examined in greater detail and placed in the proper context before using it for a research source.

Article 3: MacArthur, C. A., Ferretti, R. P., Okolo, C. M., & Cavalier, A. R. (2001). Technology

applications for students with literacy problems: A critical review.
Synopsis The article by MacArthus, Ferretti and Okolo focuses on the benefits of technology for students with literary problems, concentrating on the research of special education teachers and their overall positive view towards technology. I found this paper to be very relevant towards the topic of technology bias. The technology being examined in this paper was created by a dominant culture for students that need assistance. This is in direct contrast to the argument raised by Bowers that technology is created by the dominant culture for their own use. Students with learning difficulties are far from being dominant.

Main Argument and Research methods: The article collects its primary research from journals and books from the past 15 years, making the information relevant as long as dates are taken into account. Much has changed in technology education in 15 years. The Key argument is simply that technology education helps students with literacy problems. The article backs its claims with valid research and thoughtful insights. The research in this article is mainly collected though primary research of other journals and articles. According to the article even its own research is uneven and thus is presented as more of a narrative view than other similar articles. According to MacArthur, et al. (2001, p.296) “The methodological quality of the

research on technology applications for students with literacy problems is mixed. Only a few research teams are conducting programmatic, well-designed research that can lead to confident conclusions about how technology affects literacy learning and instruction” Issues: The main issue with this article is a lack of cold hard data. It is admittedly difficult to collect data on a topic as broad as this one because some of the research conducted is more relevant than others. According to According to MacArthur, et al. (2001, p.296) “The research on technology and word identification is the methodologically strongest and most programmatic work reviewed in this article.” If the articles information is presented from research with different academic focuses and validity one needs to question the information presented. There is also a large amount of bias towards the benefits of using technology to assist students with literary issues despite the lack of hard data supporting it, although the research does seem to lead in this direction. This is still a useful article in relation to technological bias despite these issues due to its focus on a specific element of technology bias. Article 4: Technolopy Synopsis This article is taken from a book by Neil Postman about the sate of technology and society. The main focus of this work is about the power struggle between technology and educators. This is an extremely important work in the examination of technology bias because of its frank nature. It is a biased research based argument. The data used is used to make a point, which it does very well.
Main Argument and Research methods: Postman’s main arguments is that despite the changing requirements and need for computer knowledge in the workplace, educators are not teaching these skills adequately. It is power based and representative of the dominant cultures desire to maintain the status quo. In elementary schools, computers are not seen as a core component of written education despite the fact that most currently written text is computer based. This situation is power based, and educators do not want to lose the influence that they currently hold. “Those who have control over the workings of a particular technology accumulate power and the workings of a particular technology accumulate power inevitably form a kind of conspiracy against those who have no access to the specialized knowledge made available by the technology (Postman, p.9).” The research in this book is of an analytic nature, taken as a mixture of other journal articles, books and data. Issues:

This article is one of great bias. It is used to make a point and to augment research, not to be used as a means to collect data. There is much bias in this article, however the author does not hide that fact. This article does provide some excellent data and information about the technology power struggle, however I would not recommend using this for a main research piece.

One thing that bothers me as an educator is that I am unsure if students are learning from computers or despite them. If technology is culturally neutral why is it that some students achieve more on computers than others? I have taught a number of IT classes for primary students and was surprised by certain things. One surprise was that often students who were academically strong had issues when required to use computer technologies. Whereas other students who were average students would excel in IT classes. I questions if this is culturally relevant and that these students are simply not versed in the same technology background as other students of the dominant culture.

MacArthur, C. A., Ferretti, R. P., Okolo, C. M., & Cavalier, A. R. (2001). Technology applications for students with literacy problems: A critical review. The Elementary School Journal, 101(3), 273-301. Miller L. M., Schweingruber H., & Brandenburg, C. L. (2001). Middle school students’ technology practices and preferences: Re-examining gender differences. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 10(2), 125-140. Bowers, et al. (2000) Native People and the Challenge of Computers: Reservation Schools, Individualism, and Consumerism in American Indian Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Spring, 2000), pp. 182-199.
Postman, N. (1992). Technopoly: The surrender of culture to technology. New York: Vintage Books.

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