Most diffusion research talks about how high socio-economic status (SES) leads to early adoption of innovation and lumps educational attainment in with other SES variables. Our research team took a look at education independent of other variables (such as wealth, which we did control for) to see if education independently impacts the diffusion of technology (we took the Internet in our case).
We found education does have an independent effect. In other words we found highly educated were much more likely to adopt the Internet early (in 2000) and lower educated were likley to be the non-adopters later (2009). This makes for a really interesting conversation when trying to use technology to improve educational outcomes. It turns into somewhat of a paradoxical situation: How can one use technology to improve educational outcomes when educational attainment might be one of the drivers that leads people into adopting said technology in the first place?
I’ll let you know when the paper is out, but I am proud of the intriguing conversation it brings forth. The graph below shows the points of diffusion we studied and where the Internet was in terms of adoption at that point in time.