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What does the research say about technology assistance or support for cultural responsiveness in schools, and what examples exist of schools and/or districts employing technology to help bring about cultural responsiveness and understanding?

October 2017

Following an established REL Northeast & Islands research protocol, we conducted a search for recent research on technology assistance and/or support for cultural responsiveness  in  schools. We focused on identifying resources that specifically addressed research on technology used for cultural responsiveness in primary and secondary schools. The sources searched included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, academic research databases, and general Internet search engines (For details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.)

We have not evaluated the quality of references and the resources provided in this  response and we offer them only for your reference. Because our search for references is based on the most commonly used resources of research, it is not comprehensive and other relevant references and resources may exist.

Research References

  1. Cushing, D. F., & Love, E. W. (2013). Developing cultural  responsiveness  in  environmental design students through digital storytelling and photovoice. Journal of Learning Design, 6(3), 63-74.
    https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1018593
    From the abstract: “As the Latino population in the United States grows, it will become increasingly important for undergraduate students in environmental design and related disciplines to become more culturally responsive and learn how to understand and address challenges faced by population groups, such as Latino youth. To this end, we involved environmental design undergraduate students at the University of Colorado in a service-learning class to mentor Latino youth  in  the creation of  multimedia  narratives using photovoice and digital storytelling techniques. The introduction of technology was used as a bridge between the two groups and to provide a platform for the Latino youth to reveal their community experiences. Based on focus group results, we describe the impact on the undergraduate students and provide recommendations for similar programs that can promote cultural responsiveness  through  the use of digital  technology  and prepare environmental design students to work successfully in increasingly diverse communities.”
  2. Duygu E. S. (2012). A multi-cultural interaction through video conferencing in primary schools. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 12(3), 70-86.
    https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ997807
    From the abstract: “This study investigated Turkish and Canadian  primary  school students' ways of expressing their perception of cultural understanding through video conferencing and that of cultural interaction through video conferencing. The qualitative research data were collected in the form of interviews.  The  results  obtained  were analyzed and interpreted based on the quantitative content analysis method. The research results revealed that the majority of the students explained their viewpoints through the effectiveness of the process. The students  highlighted  the importance of learning  a different culture, using technology effectively and recognizing new friends in the process. Most of the students indicated that videoconferencing encouraged them to learn and understand about different cultures, helped  them develop  cultural  awareness, attracted their attention and increased their motivation.”
  3. Dwyer, B. (2016). Teaching and learning in the global village: Connect, create, collaborate, and communicate. Reading Teacher, 70(1), 131-136.
    https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1105436
    From the abstract: “The world is increasingly interconnected through technology. In order to live and work in a global village our students need to develop global literacy. Global literacy incorporates a range of overlapping concepts including an advocacy dimension, global citizenship responsibility, and cultural and linguistic awareness. Further, global literacy encompasses a multiplicity of literacies and is grounded in social, cultural, political, and historical practices and events. The article discusses how educators can harness the power of technology to engage their students in authentic literacy events and practices designed to promote the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that students require to develop global literacy in the 21st century. Initiatives and projects designed to create global literacy are described in  areas such as connecting  communities  of readers and writers; creating cultural  understanding  through  literature  and folklore; communicating across time and space; and collaborating with learning partners across the globe.”
  4. Chio, V. C. M., & Fandt, P. M. (2007). Photovoice  in  the diversity  classroom:  Engagement, voice, and the “eye/I” of the camera. Journal of Management Education, 31(4), 484-504.
    https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ797968
    From the abstract: “A response to calls for more self-reflective and inclusive pedagogy, this article considers pedagogical and teaching possibilities offered by Photovoice--a community and participatory action research methodology developed by  Wang and Burris. Extrapolating Photovoice to the context of the diversity classroom, the authors discuss how the methodology can aid management  educators in  developing approaches and activities that foster greater participatory engagement between students and subject matter, knowledge, and learning. They share their experiences with the methodology and showcase what educators in the field can do to adopt--or adapt--the methodology for their own use.”
  5. Kim, S. (2016). Use of video modeling to teach developmentally appropriate play with Korean American children with autism. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 41(3), 158-172.
    https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1109276
    From the abstract: “Given the increased number of students with disabilities who have culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in the United States, there has been growing attention to the cultural responsiveness of evidence-based behavioral interventions. The current study examined the effects of video modeling intervention on social play and interactions of three Korean American children with autism. Developmentally and linguistically appropriate social and play levels were identified for each child prior to the intervention  and applied  to set individua lized  intervention goals. The children watched video clips of their mothers and the researcher engaging  in appropriate social play prior to play sessions with their mothers. The results indicate that scripted verbalizations and play actions increased among all  children  with  autism  and were maintained at high levels when measured 2 weeks post intervention. Generalization across novel players and toy sets was also observed at relatively lower, but still increased levels. The procedures and results can assist practitioners and researchers in better understanding how to consider  designing  and implementing culturally responsive behavioral interventions for culturally and linguistica lly diverse children with autism and their families.”
  6. Klump, J., & McNeir, G. (2005). Culturally Responsive Practices For Student Success: A Regional Sampler. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.
    https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED485666
    From the preface: “This booklet is one in a series of "hot topics" reports produced by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. This particular issue is a joint publication of NWREL's Equity Center and the Office of Planning and Service Coordination. These reports briefly address current educational concerns and issues  as indicated  by  requests for information that come to the Laboratory from the Northwest region and beyond. Each booklet contains a discussion of research and literature  pertinent  to the issue, how Northwest schools and programs are addressing the issue, selected resources, and contact information. The purpose of this  issue of By Request is  to introduce  pre-K–12 educators to the topic of culturally responsive educational practices--practices that can be defined as "using the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles of ethnically diverse  students  to make  learning  more relevant  and effective for them" (Gay, 2000, p. 29). The booklet pertains to the unique experiences of teachers and school administrators in the Northwest and Pacific regions,  and provides  a starting  place for educators to consider as they develop culturally responsive  practices in  their  schools and districts.”

Keywords and Search Strings

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

Technology and cultural responsiveness

Technology education cultur*

Cultural responsiveness education

Cultur* technology school

Diversity and culture classroom technology

Databases and Resources

We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and SAGE Journals.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

Date of the publicationReferences and resources published for last 12 years, from 2005 to present, were included in the search and review.

Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published and/or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations, academic databases, including WWC, ERIC, and NCEE.

Methodology: Following methodological priorities/considerations were given in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types –surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, etc., generally in this order; (b) target population, samples (representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected, etc.), study duration, etc.; (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, etc.


This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Northeast & Islands Region (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, US Virgin Islands, and Vermont), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands at Education Development Center. This memorandum was prepared by REL Northeast & Islands under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0008, administered by Education Development Center. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.