Symposium (3 of 5) | Cassidy Puckett | Technological Change, Learning, and Inequality
A central and consequential feature of technological competence in the digital age is the ability to learn new technologies as they emerge--what I call "digital adaptability." Macro-level research suggests differences in digital adaptability are related to various forms of inequality. However, research has not yet been able to link macro-level trends to micro-level processes, made difficult without a direct measure of adaptability. My research addresses this gap by defining and measuring adolescents' digital adaptability and connecting it to educational inequality in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In this presentation, I describe a study in Chicago and a replication study in Boston involving a total of ~2,600 students in which I validated a measure of digital adaptability and found a link between adaptability and adolescents' current STEM participation, educational plans, and career aspirations--all prerequisites for future completion of college degrees in STEM fields, with important implications for parents, educators, and policy makers.