Exploring situational factors shaping access in a laptop program for socially disadvantaged children in india: A case study

Poornima Padmanabhan, Alyssa Friend Wise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Low-cost laptop programs attempt to address gaps in access to computers in developing countries. However, the translation of computing access from intention to actuality is mediated by many situational factors. This research presents a case study of how access to a set of laptops donated to a school for socially disadvantaged children in India was shaped by social, logistical, economic and value considerations. Findings illustrate how principles of equity driving the program clashed with limited resources to produce conditions that constrained student agency. Additionally, external dependencies for laptops, knowledge and support restricted the school's ability to provide computing access, and set up uncomfortable internal inequalities within the school. Access increased for just one class of students, and even they only used the laptops for limited time periods, in pairs, and under direct supervision. Seven important access considerations related to equity, resources and agency are identified to support strategic planning of future laptop programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-95
Number of pages15
JournalEducational Media International
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

Keywords

  • Access to computers
  • Case studies
  • Equal education
  • International education
  • Laptop computers
  • Qualitative research
  • Social influences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Communication

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