3Gender, Digital Literacies, and Higher Education: Examinations of Equity

Corrine M. Wickens and Tracy Miller

Digital technologies have been credited with many positive and negative changes in higher education, including democratizing social forces (Blayone et al. 2017), inciting anxiety and depression (Panova and Lleras 2016), increasing access (Schradie 2011), disrupting concentration and attention (Wood et al. 2012), and interfering with face‐to‐face interactions (Turkle 2015). Though health care providers have documented significantly increased levels of anxiety and depression when college students are asked to disconnect from their mobile devices, and students and educators alike have noted increased distractibility elicited through usage of mobile devices (Wood et al. 2012), digital technologies are still overarchingly posited as powerful tools for learning and access to higher education.

This chapter represents a concise synthesis of empirical and policy literature across multiple disciplines: sociology, digital literacy instruction, higher education, and information and communication technologies (ICT). In particular, we explore these differences of digital usage and efficacy within institutions of higher education by gender. First, we briefly explore assumptions around “digital natives,” as they (mis)inform digital technology applications and instruction in higher education (Prensky 2001). Then, we discuss socialization and enactments of gender as they impact educational ...

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