Reflections on the digital divide

Consider these questions:

No need to write down your responses, but think about these and the extent to which you can answer these before you watch the videos and do the reading below:

  1. What is the digital divide?
  2. Who is most affected by this (globally, and then also in the USA)? Why and in what ways?
  3. How does the digital divide affect students in schools in the USA?
  4. What do you need to be aware of as a teacher so as to try to help bridge this divide and so as to avoid inequities in your classroom because of different access that your students and their families may have to technology outside of school?

Watch, read and learn:

  1. Watch the YouTube video The Digital Divide (May 2008). This video looks at the international digital divide, challenges misconceptions, and suggests what needs to be done to bridge the divide. It also showcases examples of efforts by different groups.
  2. Watch the video: What is the Digital Divide (created by http://www.internetforeveryone.org/) This looks at the Digital divide in the USA, how lack of Internet access influences peoples' lives; who is affected by the divide.
    1. (You can also watch a series of other short videos at Five Days on the Digital Dirt Road if you want to learn more, but you are not required to watch these) http://www.internetforeveryone.org/americaoffline/nc
  3. Read the article: Distance Education and the Digital Divide: An Academic Perspective by Judy Block Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume XIII, Number I, Spring 2010, University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center

Now click on your group's discussion link and respond to the discussion questions.

Discussion questions:

  1. Reflecting on what you now know about the digital divide, think back to your own education experiences and your school and your teachers' use of and expectations for student and family use of technology. Without disclosing the name of your school(s) and teachers [keep identity anonymous], share examples of how the school and teachers:
    1. Made efforts to ensure digital equity and to bridge the digital divide by making sure that students were not unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged by their use of and expectations for student and family use of technology
    2. Whether or not they were aware of it or not, created inequities and exacerbated the digital divide as a result of use of and expectations for student and family use of technology.
  2. With specific reference to the context in which you plan to teach/currently teach, what are the most important things that you have learned here that you can do to ensure digital equity and to help bridge the digital divide as a teacher?