Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

Placing bets and avoiding debts: Where working-class parents see opportunities in a technologizing future with Dr. Vikki Katz, Chapman University

Via Zoom 

RSVP Here | or email

Evolving technologies are changing how young people learn and the kinds of work their parents do. These changes create uncertainty about how adults can ensure stability and mobility in the workforce today, and how to prepare for what they anticipate work will look like for their children in the future. How parents and children answer these questions is heavily influenced by their “technological timelines”: how they see their families and communities having been affected by technological changes past, present, and future.

This presentation presents an in-depth view on how working-class Black and White families in a shared Pittsburgh community make sense of technological change, drawing on intensive fieldwork and more than 100 in-depth interviews with 4th, 8th, and 11th grade students, their parents, teachers, and school leaders. Working-class or “blue-collar” values are integral to how young people and their parents size up their options and make decisions about post-secondary pathways, from vocational training and trade schools to the rare instances when they see college as being worth the time and money.

This study was supported by the Spencer Foundation and Grable Foundation.

Vikki Katz is a Professor in the School of Communication at Chapman University. She examines how children and parents learn about, and with, technology in lower-income, working-class, and immigrant families in the U.S. Her research on digital inequality has informed federal, state, and district-level policymakers to ensure that all families have the digital tools they need to thrive, both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to her appointment at Chapman, she was a faculty member at Rutgers University’s School of Communication & Information, a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.

Katz serves as an Advisor to and CPB-PBS’s Ready to Learn program, which supports development of PBS programming to promote early learning and school readiness. She also serves as Editor of Journal of Children and Media. You can find out more about her work at