Digital Adaptability: A New Measure for Digital Inequality Research

Published on 2020-07-17T12:08:41Z (GMT) by
<div><p>Past research suggests the ability to adapt to technological change by learning new technologies is a core feature of technological competence and consequential for inequality. Yet there exists no definition or measure of what people do to learn technologies that are new to them and empirically link this to inequality. To address this gap, I conducted studies involving over 2,000 adolescents to develop and validate a measure of what I call “digital adaptability,” the use of five habits that help individuals learn technologies that are new to them. The studies included observation and cognitive interviews to describe adaptability and develop an initial item pool, a pilot to narrow items using structural equation modeling, a full test with 897 eighth-grade students in Chicago with analysis of convergent and discriminant validity, and a replication study with 1,285 high school students near Boston. Finally, using Chicago and Boston area data, I find adaptability correlates with students’ educational plans and career aspirations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics —linking digital adaptability to students’ futures. Overall, the digital adaptability measure provides a critical theoretical and empirical tool for digital inequality research, practice, and policy.</p></div>

Cite this collection

Puckett, Cassidy (2020): Digital Adaptability: A New Measure for Digital Inequality Research. SAGE Journals. Collection.