Changing Values in Society


Students do not learn in a vacuum; they bring to the classroom their social experiences and their exposure to societal values. What they learn is filtered through these values and experiences to result in the student’s contextual knowledge. The values of a society are inconstant and in flux. We chose three areas that have shown significant modifications as a result of society’s changing values which impact student learning: divorce, same-sex / LGBT parents, and the digital divide. This website was developed for use by librarians or other teaching professionals, and includes resources for adults and students on these topics.


dig·it·al di·vide \di-jə-təl\\də-vīd\ n.: the gap between those who have computers with Internet access and those who do not, as well as the gap between those who are computer literate and those who are not

Essential question: How do we as librarians to enable our students, schools, faculty and communities to create and access digital content to reduce or eliminate the digital divide?

The digital divide is a significant issue reflected by the changing values of our society. Technology figures prominently in educational and workforce arenas. A child without technological exposure, experience and knowledge will be destined to remain in an informational black hole. They will be unable to succeed and excel in the world as it becomes more digitized. There are two ways information and users can be kept from one another; physical deprivation of computers and access electronic resources, or, lack of information literacy and fluency needed to navigate and critically examine electronic resources.

Search Terms: Academic Achievement, Computers, Computers and Children, Computer literacy, Digital divide, Early Childhood Education, Educational Technology, Electronic Information Access, Electronic Information Resources, Poor Youth, Public Libraries, Public Schools, Social Aspects, Technology and children

Journal and Periodical Articles

Digital Divide Caused by Physical Access Restrictions

Eamon, Mary Keegan. "Digital Divide in Computer Access and Use Between Poor and Non-Poor Youth." Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare 31.2 (June 2004): 91-112. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Rutgers University Libraries, New Brunswick, NJ. <>.
Abstract: This study examines the “digital divide” as it applies to home computer ownership. It demonstrated that impoverished youth were less likely to own and have access to computers in the home, yet were just as likely to use an available machine for academic purposes. It also suggests solutions through recommending Government initiatives.

Judge, Sharon, Kathleen Puckett, and Sherry Mee Bell. "Closing the Digital Divide: Update From the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study." Journal of Educational Research 100.1 (Sep. 2006): 52-60. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Rutgers University Libraries, New Brunswick, NJ. <>.
Abstract: Information is presented on a 4 year longitudinal study, the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, and focuses on “equitable technology access and use over children's first 4 years of school”. One of the more interesting findings of the study was that “frequent use of software for reading was correlated negatively with reading achievement.”

Mouza, Chrystalla. "Learning with Laptops: Implementation and Outcomes in an Urban, Under-Privileged School." Journal of Research on Technology in Education 40.4 (Summer2008 2008): 447-472. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Rutgers University Libraries, New Brunswick, NJ. <>.
Abstract: This study examines the impact of a laptop distribution program in a predominantly minority, low-income school. Comparisons between classes with laptop access to those without were made, analyzing qualitative and quantitative data. Not surprisingly, student involvement and motivation were increased with the access to technology within lesson contexts. The laptop program also “produced academic gains in writing and mathematics within the laptop group.”

Digital Divide Caused by Information Literacy and Fluency Issues

Clark, Lynn Schofield, Christof Demont-Heinrich, and Scott Webber. "Parents, ICTs, and Children's Prospects for Success: Interviews along the Digital “Access Rainbow”." Critical Studies in Media Communication 22.5 (Dec. 2005): 409-426. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Rutgers University Libraries, New Brunswick, NJ. <>.
Abstract: This article discusses the belief systems of upper vs. lower income families, and their definitions of success and prospects for their children as it related to information and computer and technology access and information literacy.

Morse, Timothy E. "Ensuring Equality of Educational Opportunity in the Digital Age". Education and Urban Society, 36.3 (2004): 266-279. Sage Journals Online. Rutgers University Libraries, New Brunswick, NJ. <>
Abstract: This article relates the inequality of information access and resources back to the roots of racial discriminiation with Brown vs. the Board of Education. Digital divide in all its various incarnations and meanings are discussed and solutions are addressed.

Resnick, Mitchel. "Closing the Fluency Gap." Communications of the ACM 44.3 (Mar. 2001): 144-145. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Rutgers University Libraries, New Brunswick, NJ. <>.
Abstract: This article suggests that the digital divide is caused more by lack of computer and information literacy skills as opposed to physical access to computer technologies. Computer education needs to focus on creation, synthesis and evaluation instead of merely word processing and other simpler tasks in odr to be an effective learning tool.

Valadez, James R., and Richard Duran. "Redefining the Digital Divide: Beyond Access to Computers and the Internet." High School Journal 90.3 (Feb. 2007): 31-44. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Rutgers University Libraries, New Brunswick, NJ. <>.
Abstract: Compares 5 low resource (low computer access and students to computer ratios) schools against one high resource school. The study showed that teachers who had more physical access to computers and the Internet (C&I) used them more creatively and frequently. The high resource students are "more likely to use C&I for experimental and creative uses than students from low resource schools". This article also posits that the digital divide presents "social consequences including the impact of social networks and wider use of technology to improve instruction".


CEO Forum on Education and Technology. Year 4 Report: Key Building Blocks for Student Achievement in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: 2001. <>
Abstract: This national report focuses on the need of access to computers themselves, and emphasizes the education of information literacy skills for our students.

Compaine, Benjamin M. The Digital Divide: Facing a Crisis or Creating a Myth? Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2001.
Abstract: Although slightly dated now, this book presents a thorough view of the digital divide, its relevance to today's society and repercussions of not addressing the problem.

Mossberger, K., C.J. Tolbert, and Mary Stansbury. Virtual Inequality: Beyond the Digital Divide. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2003.
Abstract: "Computer and Internet access are insufficient without the skill to use the technology, and economic opportunity and political participation provide primary justification for realizing that this inequality is a public problem and not simply a matter of private misfortune". This quote, from the book cover, perfectly encompasses the essence of this text. It offers practical and long range policy solutions to this increasingly pertinent problem.

van Dijk, Jan A G M. The Deepening Divide: Inequality in the Information Society. California: Sage Publications, 2005.
Abstract: This book offers not only an explanation of the problem of the digital divide, but also posits how and why to fix the issue. A very relevant and current resource to consult on this problem for possible solutions.

Websites and e-sources

American Library Association. “Digital Divide Talking Points”. 2008. <>
Abstract: This web page explains the philanthropy of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and its impact of narrowing the digital divide for users of public libraries.

Education Development Center. Center for Children and Technology. "Projects: Project Summary: Computers for Youth Evaluation Study". 2002. <>
Abstract: This website shows how one foundation strove to increase electronic access to low-income households. It provides a model for other beneficent organizations to successfully implement similar operations.

National Telecommunications and Information Administration. “Falling through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide”. 28 Sept. 2001. <>
Abstract: Although this was updated close to 7 years ago, the relevance for information about the digital divide facing the nation on this page still holds relevance and is well presented.

National Telecommunications and Information Administration. “A Nation Online: Entering the Broadband Age”. 19 June 2008. <>
Abstract: An interesting study that focuses on internet usage and access in homes, schools and libraries implemented through George W. Bush’s Administration. It is a continuation of The Clinton Administration’s focus on technology implementation begun in 2001.

TakingITGlobal. "Digital Divide Network (DDN)". 08 July 2008. <>
Abstract: "Mission Statement: The Digital Divide Network strives to be the online destination for individuals interested about and actively overcoming the Digital Divide. It is a storehouse of information for practitioners of all levels, and provides a community environment for the open discussion of the problem and the sharing of best practices." Canadian based, this resource is an invaluable tool for teaching practitioners that addresses the internet and digital divide on a global scale and provides a forum for educators and business practitioners to conference on emerging issues.

Gates, Bill. "Opportunity Online Grants Help Public Libraries Improve Quality of Free Computer Access Used by Millions of Americans". Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 15 July 2008. <>
Abstract: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports technology and educational funding in a significant way. This article is just one example of the grant offerings and financial support this foundation gives as a means of allowing institutions and libraries purchase the computers needed within communities to impede the problems associated with the digital divide.


Essential Question: How have issues surrounding same sex marriage impacted what is taught in the classroom? How are the children of same sex parent families treated by their peers and teachers and what impact has this had on their education?

Search Terms: Gay and Lesbian/Parenting and Families, Gay Parents, Education and LGBT, Homosexuality and education, Homophobia in higher education

Journal and Periodical Articles

Clay, James W. “Respecting and Supporting Gay and Lesbian Parents.” Education Digest 56.8 (1991): 51-53.
Abstract: This article examines ways that school personal can support and respect gay and lesbian parents and their families. Key to supporting these families is understanding the unique issues they face because they are ‘different’ in the eyes of many more traditional families. The article also deals with the relationship between parents’ sexual orientation and the child’s sexual/self identity, as well as their overall emotional adjustment.

Efminger, Kay. “Rethinking Welcoming Literacy Environments for LGBT Families.” Childhood Education 84.1 (2007) 24-28.
Abstract: Offers literary resources for LGBT families and their teachers.

“Gay and Lesbian Parents.” Education Week 27. 27 (2008): 5.
Abstract: This article focuses on children of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) parents and how school personnel treat them. The study also discusses how involved LGBT parents are in the school community versus heterosexual parents.

Macgillivray, Ian. K and Todd Jennings. “A Content Analysis Exploring Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Topics in Foundations of Education Textbooks.” Journal of Teacher Education 59.2 (2008):170-188.
Abstract: These authors looked at the way foundations of education textbooks treat LGBT content. Content includes a look at discrimination and harassment, identities and experiences and families. Curriculum to address these issues, personal beliefs and objections, and professional responsibilities are also discussed.

Patterson, Charlotte J. “Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 15.5 (2006): 241-245.
Abstract: This study questions the impact of parental sexual orientation on child development. The study concludes that the quality of family relationships is more significantly linked with child educational outcomes than parental sexual orientation.

Robertson, Eleanor T. “Promoting the Acceptance of Sexual Diversity in a Class of Fifth Grade Boys.” Journal of LGBT Youth 5.1 (2008): 15-26.
Abstract: This study details the systematic approach undertaken by a school to reduce the bullying and aggressive behavior aimed at a boy who exhibited feminine behaviors. The focus of the article is on acceptance of differences and resolution of problems in the classroom. Note: This journal offers many articles that deal with LGBT and education.


Birden, Susan. Rethinking Sexual Identity in Education. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.
Abstract: From the perspective of LGBTs’ educational experiences, this book offers information on transforming educational practices and policies.

Kissen, Rita M., ed. Getting Ready for Benjamin: Preparing Teachers for Sexual Diversity in the Classroom. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002.
Abstract: Nineteen essays that help teachers deal with issues such as homophobia, LGBT students, and children of same sex families. Offers a variety of perspectives and strategies for multicultural education.

Lipkin, Arthur. Understanding Homosexuality, Changing Schools. Colorado: Westview Press. 1999.
Abstract: Intended for educators and administrators, this book presents 13 topics related to homosexuality and education including communication, bullying, curriculum and family integration and support.


Leaf, Munro. The Story of Ferdinand. New York: Viking Press. 1964.
Abstract: First published in 1936, this is s story of a bull who would not be pressured into doing what the other bulls were doing and the mother that supported him in his choice to be different.

Newman, Leslea. Heather Has Two Mommies. Los Angeles: Alyson Publications, 2000.
Abstract: Aimed at children 4-8, this book tells the story of Heather who notices that her family is different than others in her preschool; she has two mommies and no daddy. The book focuses on non-traditional families and what makes them special. As one of the first children’s picture books dealing with this topic, this book has received much positive and negative attention since it was originally self-published in 1989.

Richardson, Justin and Peter Parenell. And Tango Makes Three. New York: Simon & Schuster. 2005.
Abstract: This is the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who share a nest like other penguin couples. A zookeeper provides the penguins with a chance to raise their own ‘adopted’ family.

Schniedewind, Nancy and Ellen Davidson. Open Minds to Equality. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. 2006.
Abstract: Geared toward educators who want more information on building equitable classrooms. The author examines discrimination and its impact on the student as well as how to educate children about heterosexism and homophobia.

Websites and E-sources

GLSEN. 2002-2008. Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
Abstract: This website includes numerous links to resources about legal issues, bullying, child development and training for educators.

National Education Association. 2002-2008. National Education Association. <>
Abstract: Keyword Search: LGBT. This site provides position statements by the NEA on same sex marriage, as well as numerous articles on teaching tolerance, safe schools, gender identity and sexual orientation.


Essential question: How does divorce / separation impact a child's education, and what can parents / educators do to help these children cope with the issues related to the topic?

Search Terms: Divorce, separation, education, children, social aspects.


Brodkin, Adele M. “Between Teacher & Parent: Helping the Child Who Is Struggling with a Parent’s New Marriage.” Early Childhood Today. 19.7 (2005): 12-13. <‌ERICWebPortal/‌contentdelivery/‌servlet/‌ERICServlet?accno=EJ738476>.
Abstract: Particularly informative and illustrative, this article is written as a case example of how one teacher, one set of parents, and one doctor dealt with a child that was having adjustment problems related to parent remarriage. It gives parents and teachers practical, useful advice related to elementary school aged children that are having a difficult time coping with parent(s) remarrying. Provides resources, collaborative tips, coping tools, expert advice, and warning signs to look out for.

Cherlin, Andrew J. “American Marriage in the Early Twenty-First Century.” Future of Children. 15.2 (2005): 33-55. <‌ERICWebPortal/‌contentdelivery/‌servlet/‌ERICServlet?accno=EJ795850>.
Abstract: For educators and administrators. Examines changes seen happening in American family life in the 21st century, particularly marriage / marital status and its affects on children. Statistics, trends, public policy, societal ideals, economic influences, class / racial / ethnic issues, and current controversies are covered.

Nock, Steven L. “Marriage as a Public Issue.” Future of Children. 15.2 (2005): 13-32. <‌ERICWebPortal/‌contentdelivery/‌servlet/‌ERICServlet?accno=EJ795849>.
Abstract: Discusses the issues that have changed the roles of family and marriage, as well as the impact that marital issues / problems / status has on children, including their educational well-being. Scientific evidence is given of the emotional, financial, and societal impact of marriage on individuals and society. Notes that although current programs and policies focus on the individual when promoting marriage, it is society and culture that make the biggest impact.


Brown, Marc, and Laurie Krasny Brown. Dinosaurs Divorce. New York: Little, Brown Young Readers, 1988.
Abstract: For elementary school children; written by the author of the popular ”Arthur” series, so it will appeal to students readily. Addresses children’s normal feelings and concerns relating to divorce, such as living in two homes, and reasons behind divorce. It’s a positive, simplified (but not overly so), expressive, book that will appeal to kids.

Everett, Craig A., and William Jeynes. Divorce, Family Structure, and the Academic Success of Children. New York: Routledge, 2002.
Abstract: Explores how divorce, remarriage, separation, living with neither parent, shared custody, and other domestic arrangements affect a child’s performance in school; equips teachers with the tools and knowledge necessary to help their students; provides administrators with background knowledge on the subject. Intended for education professionals, but parents may find interest here as well.

Lapin, Renae. School Days and the Divorce Maze: A Complete Guide for Joint Custody Parents in Managing Your Childs Successful School Career . Hollywood, FL: Frederick Fell, 2008.
Abstract: An essential guide for parents, this book offers strategies and solutions for joint custody family issues and helps the adults involved (parents, step-parents and the like) enable students to have a successful educational experience. Calls attention to details and situations that otherwise may be otherwise overlooked until they actually occur; allows for planning.

Levins, Sandra, and Bryan Langdo. Was It the Chocolate Pudding?: A Story for Little Kids about Divorce. Washington, DC: America Psychological Association, 2005.
Abstract: Narrated by a young boy living with his brother and single father. Excellent for helping explain to a child the practicalities and grown-up vocabulary involved with divorce, such as joint custody, single-family homes, new arrangement, etc. A note for parents is included; good for children up to age 8.

Masurel, Claire, and Kady Mcdonald Denton. Two Homes. Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2003.
Abstract: Explains, in a child’s terms, the situations and emotions that matter to a child dealing with a separation or divorce. Narrated by a young boy, he introduces readers to himself, then goes on to explain details of his life in two homes with his divorced parents. An affirmative book that highlights the love that parents (even divorced ones!) have for their children.

Rogers, Fred. Let’s Talk About It: Divorce. New York: Putnam Juvenile, 1998.
Abstract: Written by Mr. Rogers, a personality that appeals to both children and their parents and has a certain knack for comforting whilst imparting knowledge and fostering self-esteem. Empowers children of divorce to feel safe and loved, encourages them to have fun despite the situation, and offers them ways to deal with difficult emotions.

Weisberg, Carole D. Children of Divorce in School-Age Care: A Resource for the School-Age Care Professional & Youth Care Specialist. New Albany, OH: School Age Notes, 2000.
Abstract: Intended for caregiving agencies such as afterschool care; the author is a parent educator and school-age program director, so she gives practical advice. Details the needs of families (especially children) in the face of divorce / separation and offers suggestions to help school teachers and administrators address those needs. Includes information on policy writing concerning custody arrangements.


Kids & Divorce: For Better or Worse. DVD. PBS Home Video, 2006.
Abstract: Hosted / narrated by journalist Dave Iverson, this DVD “covers” the subject of divorce and its emotional / legal impact in a way that kids can understand. Perfect for the classroom as well as a resource for families, and its 60-minute length allows time for depth but is short enough for grade school attention spans and classroom time slots.

Trevor Romain: Taking the “Duh” out of Divorce. DVD. Porchlight Home Entertainment, 2005.

Abstract: In this cleverly drawn and written cartoon, a young girl takes her parents to court to keep them from getting a divorce. While her plan does not learn, the experience teaches practical information about divorce, like how to deal with it, and, most importantly, that her parents both love her even though they will not all live together as a family anymore. The humor makes this DVD very acceptable and accessible to children.

Web sites and e-sources

CastleWorks. “It’s My Life, Family, Divorce.” PBS Kids GO! 2005. <‌itsmylife/‌family/‌divorce >.
Abstract: Dedicated to helping kids cope with divorce and providing kid-friendly information about the subject. Videos, a quiz, divorce basics, emotions involved (and their expression), getting (or giving) help, printable activities, and message posting are included. Available in Spanish. Community involvement links are provided for hotlines, clubs / organizations, and volunteer opportunities. A trustworthy resource from PBS.

Nemours Center for Children’s Health Media. “A Kid’s Guide to Divorce.” Kids Health. <‌kid/‌feeling/‌home_family/‌divorce.html>.
Abstract: Empowers children by giving them valuable, accessible information on how they can help themselves, friends, or family in the case of divorce. Helps children understand what divorce is, and what it entails. Sponsored by the Nemours Foundation Center for children’s health media, the information on the site is approved and / or provided by doctors and pediatricians.

PBS. “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Parents & Teachers, Divorce.” PBS Kids. <‌rogers/‌parentsteachers/‌theme/‌1476.html>.
Abstract: Related to the PBS Kids site for children, this is the correlating site providing support and information for parents and teachers of children dealing with divorce. A note from Fred Rogers explains the need for adults to be forthright and understanding with children when it comes to divorce. Activities and booklists are provided.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Divorce.” MedlinePlus. 15 May 2008. National Institutes of Health. <‌medlineplus/‌divorce.html>.
Abstract: Continually updated and intended for adults; useful for both parents and educators alike. A website authored by a very authoritative source, here you will find articles, website links, statistics, and information complied by the U.S. National Library of Medicine related to the subject of divorce. Also includes background information, local services, organizations, coping strategies, and issues concerning children.