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Addressing the Digital Divide

What a strange and difficult ride it has been for the last few months. What has emerged is a clear divide between the rich and the poor that goes into all areas of our life -housing, eating, working, and learning. The last few months have made the importance of technology clear. Those who have it and can use it well have a clear advantage over those that don’t.

This blog describes the digital divide across schools where schools in poor neighborhoods don’t have the level of technology or digital classrooms that are necessary.  An interesting fact from the research is that poor kids are under the control of the computer while richer kids control the computer and create and learn with it. How can we integrate digital confidence and competence into our educational programs for all of our students and educators?

The biggest challenge is to ensure access to networks and easy to use laptops or notebooks for all. And then, even more important, to provide access in education for ways to make technology useful for learning. Students need more than just reading and surfing on the web with no experience in how to create on the web. Students  will need to learn how to control their technology for their own learning.

Nothing less is needed than a total integration of web use with social studies, geography, reading, writing, mathematics, and other school subjects. Students need to use computers every day and as part of natural classroom practice. Teachers need to understand how to use e-learning as a natural part of their teaching and learning.  Much work is needed. The first step is to plan for a digital future for all.