Vietnamese American Students Negotiate Technology and Education

By Xuan-Truong Nguyen.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper sheds light on the way in which underprivileged Vietnamese American students manage to overcome technological disadvantages and demonstrate ways they bridge the technological divide with their parents. With tremendous efforts, these students lessen social exclusion, cultural differences and racial conflicts. The study aims to examine three themes: 1) how racial isolation and stereotypes affect Vietnamese American students as they try to overcome language, cultural and technological challenges; 2) how unequal access to technology between affluent and poor public schools affects academic achievement; 3) how parental education and involvement influence children’s attitudes about computer usage toward academic success. I argue that the interaction of race and socioeconomic status upon linguistic, cultural, and technological challenges shapes the complex relationships between Vietnamese American students, their parents, and teachers, as they interact through technology and education. My interviews with Vietnamese students show recurrent themes and patterns. With marked impact on them, technological gaps arise based on racial, socioeconomic, and parental involvement and educational status. As technology has developed, it has produced cultural norms that have caused extra impediments to these students. This work fills the gaps in earlier studies and adds a new dimension to Asian American Studies by revealing how underprivileged Vietnamese Americans suffer the digital divide not only in the dominant culture, but also within their own families and communities.

Keywords: Vietnamese American Students, Racial Isolation, Digital Divide, Technological Challenges, Academic Achievement, Parental Socioeconomic Status, Parental Education and Involvement

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp.45-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 771.612KB).

Xuan-Truong Nguyen

Ph.D. Candidate, American Studies, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA

Xuan Truong Thi Nguyen completed her Ph.D. in American Studies (May 2011), an adjunct instructor in Critical Culture, Gender, And Race Studies at Washington State University. Her current instructorship involves teaching introduction courses in Comparative Ethnic Studies and she has experience in teaching Asian American Studies and Distance Learning in Women’s Studies. Her work adds to the developing interdisciplinary scholarship in Sociology, History and Asian American Studies. Her research/interest areas in a broad sense include digital diversity; cultural aspects of multimedia and web technologies; adaptations to technology by men, women and low-income minority communities; Vietnamese American refugees and immigrants; and the Vietnamese diaspora. These specific research goals are based on one general idea: gaining deep insights into the struggles of Vietnamese Americans through oral history interview methods of qualitative and quantitative analysis.

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