Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mesosystems and Student Self Efficacy: Part III

Two microsystems coming together form a mesosystem. These systems are a connection between two microsystems in an adolescent’s life.  The influence these connections make can form a divide in a digital relationship.  There are two areas specific to technology’s impact with the behavior between adolescent microsystems, access, and behavior when participating.  Much has been researched about the positive and negative effects of technology tools on adolescent behavior (Ernst, 2013; Ives; 2012; Lepisto, 2012).

There is an absence of research on the socioeconomic impact on adolescents not growing up with access to technological systems.  If a family is economically disadvantage, not having a computer or game councils in the home, how does this impact an adolescent when they visit peers with these devices? Are their more bullying behaviors, socialization issues, economic impact as the child grows older due to lack of parental digital literacy?  Schools offer computer hours after school, but marginalized adolescents may have no transportation home to utilize these hours. Digitally literate students have years of experience with technological systems and tools. If students become intrinsically motivated to pursue information due to digital games how does this translates to the motivation systems of students without access?

Hsieh, Cho, Liu, and Schallert (2008) studied the self-efficacy of goal completion with middle school students in technology integrated curriculums. Self-efficacy has been studied as a predictor of academic motivation and achievement in STEM courses (Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2009). Students in technology enhanced learning environments exhibited a significantly increased level of self-efficacy and motivation towards goal achievement in science courses (Hsieh et al., 2008). Not only were these areas affected, but their overall scores were higher.

Important questions for understanding the digital divide in an adolescent’s mesosystem.
1.     How does the adolescent adapt when teachers give technology assignments to students without access?
2.     Do teachers evaluate access of individual students in the classroom?
3.     What other areas of a student’s interactions are placed at risk due to lack of technology access? Friendships with other adolescents who have a higher self-efficacy due to access?
4.     In students lacking reliable access for years, how does this affect their connections to higher education, livable wage employment, understanding economic advantages available through the Internet, or socialization experience?

The integration of these systems in a student’s life brings more questions than answers. Evaluation of this divide with marginalized students brings awareness of the problem and constructive solutions to bridge the digital gap between the systems in their lives. Social work can advance solutions for this population by developing solutions for the systems impacting students’ lives.

Ernst, J. V., & Moye, J. J. (2013). Social Adjustment of At-Risk Technology Education Students. Journal Of Technology Education, 24(2), 2-13.
Hsieh, P., Cho, Y., Liu, M., & Schallert, D. L. (2008). Middle School Focus: Examining the Interplay between Middle School Students Achievement Goals and Self-Efficacy in a Technology-Enhanced Learning Environment. American Secondary Education, 36(3), 33-50.
Ives, E. A. (2012, October 1). iGeneration: The Social Cognitive Effects of Digital Technology on Teenagers. Online Submission,
Lepisto, B. (2012). MySpace, Your Space, Whose Space? The Use/Abuse of Technology in the Treatment of an Adolescent. Journal Of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 11(2), 113-120. doi:10.1080/15289168.2012.673405