The term digital divide refers to the inequality based around access to technology such as home computers or even the internet (Barr, 2014). In my studies, I have found there to be a number of reasons why bridging this gap is important on a societal level such as benefits to economic equality and growth as well as improved social opportunities (Internet World Stats, 2014) for those of a lower socioeconomic status.
From an educational standpoint however, I have found that reducing this digital divide is imperative to ensure that students from all walks of life are given the same opportunities to learn. The importance of this can be seen in the previously mentioned concept of digital expectancy in which there is an expectation of fluency in the digital realm that comes not just from the educational perspective, but from future employers as well. This means that for students to have equal opportunities in the future, they must have the best digital opportunities possible in the present.
I believe that as a future teacher, I have the capacity to be part of the solution to reducing this digital divide and as Howell (2012) states “Schools are increasingly asked to bridge the digital divide between what the parents can afford and what they would like their children to experience or be fluent in”. By providing access and education to students who may not have access to many technologies, schools can help improve student’s technological fluency. The importance of providing this access is underlined by statistics that show that only 62% of Australian homes have broadband internet and 14% of Australian homes have no internet connection whatsoever (Howell, 2012). In the end, a major solution to the digital divide is access, with schools playing a pivotal role in this access for students.
Barr, P. (2014). The digital divide is narrowing but more needs to be done. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/the-digital-divide-is-narrowing-but-more-needs-to-be-done-25994
Internet World Stats. (2014). The Digital Divide, ICT and the 50×15 Initiative. Retrieved from http://www.internetworldstats.com/links10.htm
Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital Pedagogies for Collaboration & Creativity. South Melbourne, VIC:Oxford University Press
Mashable. (2012). digital-divide-if-you-re-reading-this-you-re-one-of-the-lucky-ones [Image]. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2012/02/05/digital-divide-infographic/
ASCD. (n.d.). pp_v17n03_infographic [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/newsletters/policy-priorities/vol17/num03/The-Digital-Divide.aspx