Tanushree Rawat – Graduate Student International Summer Research or Residency Award Recipient

I used the Graduate Student International Summer Research or Residency Award from Global Engagement Office as part of my dissertation data collection in India. Primarily this money supported my travel between multiple data sites in India. These visits were crucial for me to build relationships with my collaborators in the field. Spending time with the participants and other stakeholders resulted in building familiarity and trust, which further helped me to develop a deeper understanding of the context.

My research is focused on understanding the role of technology in Indian public schools. While most research presents how Indian education system is not able to meet the needs of all of its students, there is less research on practices that are working in that context. At the same time, access to technology like internet enabled smartphones and laptops have increased significantly in the past few years in India. Thus, it has become important to understand the role played by technology-driven interventions within the Indian public education system.

Researchers also emphasize that mere access to technology is not enough. Ito et al. (2016, p. 6) say, “access to social, cultural, and economic capital, not access to technology is what broadens opportunity”. Even when technologies are available, they exacerbate the inequality between different social classes because people with more means know ways to take greater advantage of these technologies as compared to those with lesser means (Halverson, Kallio, Hackett, & Halverson, 2016; Reich & Ito, 2017).

I employ qualitative multiple case study methodology (Creswell, 2007, Merriam, 1998) to document and examine the practical wisdom held by educators and leaders in 5 Indian government schools as they integrate technology in traditionally non-English speaking communities.

As a result of my study, I hope to start a conversation about successful, practical strategies in diverse communities. This study will help me to paint a rich descriptive picture of the Indian government schools and technology integration while concurrently showing examples of practical wisdom held by enterprising teachers who succeed despite challenges.

Findings from this research will contribute to the narrow existing field in terms of uncovering complexities in multilingual, multicultural, and diverse communities, especially with regards to technology integration in formal learning spaces.