Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Sadness of the Digital Divide

Reading about the digital divide was very saddening.  Schrum (2011) talks about how certain schools and populations are not given the same opportunities to access technology.  For instance, "schools with high poverty rates and those in rural areas that have access typically have slower connections to the Internet" (Schrum 2011).  Why are these facts so saddening?  It is saddening because many of these students come from families that may not be able to afford the latest and best technologies.  They already do not have as much access at home.  Thus, they are already disadvantaged when compared to their peers who are wealthier and able to afford these newer technologies.  Therefore, when the school does not provide students with access, it further causes these students to be at a disadvantage especially since for some of these students, it means they are getting no exposure and access. 

Throughout this semester so far, we have been talking about the importance of incorporating technology into our lessons.  Reading about the digital divide made this importance even more apparent especially in regards to poorer school districts.  If we do not help these students access technology and learn how to use it to help them work collaboratively with others as well as use it to be creative, then these students will have less of a chance of succeeding later on in life.  As mentioned many times in the beginning of the course, more and more jobs are requiring one to have basic technology skills.  Therefore, if we do not equip these students with these skills, these students will not have an advantage.

As future educators, it is our job to ensure that we are preparing our students to the best of our abilities.  I now understand why it is so important for us to be technology ambassadors and help schools change to address the needs of 21st century students.  Being technologically savvy ourselves, it is our job to introduce the use of technology into the schools we teach in.  We should use technology in our lessons and be the model for others to follow.  We need to be the ones who help our students gain the skills they need to succeed.

5 comments:

  1. Very interesting blog. I also talked about the digital divide that exist amongst our students. As a future teacher in the urban school, I plan on trying to minimize the divide by incorporating my own personal technology devices with my students and teachers.

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  2. Hi Tiffany,

    Many disadvantaged students have less technology available than their affluent peers. What is more disturbing is that many urban students in struggling districts that DO have access to computers lack teachers who know how to harness the available technology for Type 2 activities contrasted with Type 1 activities discussed on page 111 in Schrum & Levin. One solution to that problem is finding teachers such as Miss Wiley who will help close that divide. Another solution is to design and implement long-term professional development programs to bring the current teaching force up to speed. Unfortunately that takes public commitment and funding. I fear the disadvantaged don’t get much of either. This is a serious problem, because as you stated, lack of access to high-quality tech ed, limits students’ access to quality employment in the job market.

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  3. Yes, all of you make valid points. The Digital Divide is especially disconcerting in light of the achievement gap that already exists. Unfortunately if the students are not provided exposure to technology integration and school and have no access at school, they will be less prepared for 21st Century communication in the workplace. And frequently the kind of technology they are exposed to at school only reinforces basic skills, and not higher order thinking.

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  4. It is sad. The digital divide is just one more example of how students in urban schools are given less opportunity to succeed than their suburban counterparts. These schools are lacking in so many ways that it would be very hard for them to justify spending money on technology to develop 21st century skills when the school itself is crumbling around them. Just as Christine said, it takes public commitment and funding to solve these problem and urban schools are lacking on both. It is just a really tough situation and unfortunately it is the kids in the school that pay for it.

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  5. Tiffany,

    The digital divide is a topic that I also talked about in one of my blog posts. In my Urban Education course we are consistently talking about how the resources for students in low income areas are significantly different than those in average to high income areas. What we also discuss is the importance of using the resources that you have and educating yourself to help your students. As Christine said some urban schools do have a few computers but lack teachers who have the skills to integrate them into the classroom. Especially in urban schools it is important that we continue to educate ourselves in addition to any personal development the school provides. The Digital Divide may continue, but we as educators need to work our hardest to minimize the divide.

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