Educational Technology Research and Development

, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 465–486

Socioeconomic strata, mobile technology, and education: a comparative analysis


    • Stanford University
  • Teresita Hagashi
    • CETYS Universidad
  • Laura Carillo
    • CETYS Universidad
  • Irina Gonzales
    • Stanford University
  • Tamas Makany
    • Stanford University
  • Bommi Lee
    • Stanford University
  • Alberto Gàrate
    • CETYS Universidad
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11423-010-9172-3

Cite this article as:
Kim, P., Hagashi, T., Carillo, L. et al. Education Tech Research Dev (2011) 59: 465. doi:10.1007/s11423-010-9172-3


Mobile devices are highly portable, easily distributable, substantially affordable, and have the potential to be pedagogically complementary resources in education. This study, incorporating mixed method analyses, discusses the implications of a mobile learning technology-based learning model in two public primary schools near the Mexico-USA border in the state of Baja California, Mexico. One school was located in an urban slum and the other in a rural village community. Empirical and ethnographic data were collected through a series of achievement tests, observations, surveys, and interviews involving 160 s grade school children recruited by convenience sampling. The general technology infrastructure, distinctive features of mobile learning to supplement literacy development, profound contextual phenomena arising from the two uniquely underserved communities, and social factors possibly influencing the educational experiences are discussed. The findings suggest that students in the rural village, seriously lacking educational resources and technology exposure, may have benefited substantially more from mobile technologies than urban school students possibly due to their relatively higher socio-economic status and higher parental involvement and interest in education. In contrast, there was no evidence of interaction with parental education levels, the experience of teachers or school principals, or the teacher’s perception or preparation of the technology. Overall, the mobile learning technology adoption was rapid, seamless, and actively driven by the students rather than the teacher. The challenges of the phenomenal migratory nature of most families in this unique geographical region are also discussed to benefit future studies.


Mobile learningRuralUrbanMexicoLiteracy development

Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2010