Latino immigrant families learning with digital media across settings and generations

Amber Levinson, Brigid Barron


Latino families in the U.S. are an under-served population, and are adopting digital technologies rapidly. This article shares case studies from in-depth research with Latino immigrant families and their use of technology, focusing on family technology practices that were interest-driven, cross-setting, and in some cases also collaborative among family members. Three cases illustrate ways that families, all of whom had elementary school-age children, were innovative in their use of technology to learn, as well as how digital content and devices served to help children and parents explore content across settings. In addition to documenting families’ existing practices, the study examined what happened when each family received a tablet device with curated language- and literacy-related content. The analysis highlights how introducing these tools made new practices possible among families, while building on parents’ and children’s existing expertise. We focus on three types of connections that technology facilitated: 1) aligning access to rich content at home and school leading to more exploration of academically relevant material; 2) expanding parents’ roles as collaborative learners of English as a second language among other topics; and 3) Digital production that connects civic, STEM, and language practices. We highlight ways in which families used innovative approaches to get the most out of the devices and content they had access to. We also explore how other factors including technology infrastructure, opacity of the app marketplace, and cost can constrain families’ opportunities to learn with technology.


Latino immigrant families, media, technology, learning.

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