How low -income African American women take up opportunities when technology education is linked to social service

Marjorie M Edmonds-Lloyd, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

At the School of Today, an urban technology center under the auspices of a faith-based organization, it was found that African American women did not seem highly motivated to take advantage of opportunities to acquire the technology education made available to them. It was also observed that most of the women enrolled in the yearlong program struggle with low self-esteem, poor health, intermittent work experience, marginal life skills, and limited prior exposure to computer technology. This gave rationale for inquiry into how low-income African American women took up opportunities in technology available to them. The study asks: How do low-income African American women take up opportunities when technology education is coupled to social services? The research employed the case study method and included structured and unstructured interviews, examination of student work, and close observations for discrete areas of behavior in students' class, residential, and social lives. The student responses were narrated through detailed primary experiences—vignettes that described students' pedagogical preferences, prior exposure to technology, residential access, and their response to organizational impact. It was found that low-income African American women take up opportunities in technology in a state of cognitive dissonance, struggling to find their voice, power, and selves in the midst of internal and external conflicts with the organization and the technology itself. Pressing financial constraints related to housing and employment, family ties, and a newly developing self-identity mitigate what and how they take up opportunities in technology. ^

Subject Area

Black Studies|Women's Studies|Education, Adult and Continuing|Education, Vocational

Recommended Citation

Marjorie M Edmonds-Lloyd, "How low -income African American women take up opportunities when technology education is linked to social service" (January 1, 2005). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI3168021.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3168021

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