Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education/Leadership in Urban Schools

First Advisor

Wenfan Yan

Second Advisor

Abiola Farinde-Wu

Third Advisor

Dr. Luís Pedro


The purpose of this research is to evaluate the use of and the attitude towards smartphone technology for in school and remote learning by urban high school students to reduce digital inequalities. High school students use smartphone technology in today’s society as an integral part of their lives. Yet the majority of the large school districts in the United States ban the use of students’ mobile phones in schools. Furthermore, while policy makers, school district personnel, and school administrators each year negotiate the school’s technology budget, technology use agreements, network maintenance, and which Internet application tools to adopt, almost all students are bringing into schools an advanced computing technology device that imposes no additional cost to the school, the district, or the state. More consistently than pencils, papers or even textbooks, students bring their smartphones into schools every day. But rather than enhancing ways to incorporate students’ smartphone technology into the school’s curriculum and instructions, school districts around the country have developed policies and procedures to prohibit or strictly monitor their use in the schools. This research project was conducted from a Culturally Responsive Computing (CRC) theoretical framework using the culturally responsive teaching lens to examine technology use, technology education, and technology accessibility from students’ perspectives. The study involved a quantitative design methodology using an online web survey which explored students’ use and attitudes in three areas: usefulness of smartphones for school, students’ beliefs and understanding of smartphone policies in school, and how smartphones for student enables connections. In addition, three open-response questions within the survey were analyzed using qualitative design coding methodology to identify emerging themes.


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