August 14, 2002

The Digital Disconnect: The widening gap between Internet-savvy students and their schools

Commissioned by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, this study was conducted by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) under the direction of Douglas Levin, project director, and Sousan Arafeh, deputy project director. 

It was only through the kindness and extraordinary efforts of many individuals that we were able to gather the information that we did.  We cannot thank enough the students, teachers, parents, school and district administrators, and Boys and Girls Clubs’ staff who donated their time and effort to ensure that we were able to have robust focus groups of bright and forthcoming students.  In addition, there were many individuals and organizations that spread the word about our online story contest.  Thanks to them for their efforts in getting the word out to students that we were seeking their input.  

The study also benefited from thoughtful external reviews of its draft instrumentation, including our focus group protocols and questionnaire.  For their insights, we thank Professor Ronald Anderson of the University of Minnesota; Kari Arfstrom, Associate Director, Association of Educational Service Agencies; Linda Roberts, formerly Director of the Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education; and Bill Thomas, Director of Educational Technology at the Southern Regional Education Board.

Finally, many thanks also to the staff of AIR who helped us in large and small ways to conduct this study.  In particular, we thank Jennifer Richardson, Steven Lipson, Alex Gerson, Matthew Green, Brian Hardwick, Rita Kirshstein, Michael Fast, DeWan Lee, Stephnie Blaine, and Diedra White.