What’s the Buzz: Digital Divide

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In the current political climate, we’ve learned a number of new expressions. New definitions have been applied to terms that many thought were well defined already.  Since a number of concepts  seem to be relative, it is even more important now to ensure that there is a common understanding of a phrase amongst those with whom you are conversing.  Today we will define the digital divide as a gap in the access to or use of information and communication technologies.  This gap typically is seen along economic and social lines where the poor, rural, elderly and handicapped are affected.

For students, growing up on the wrong side of the digital divide can have serious consequences.  Students who have limited exposure to technology will have difficulty using it productively when they do get access.  Researching, collaborating and producing work products for school require skills that are learned over time.  Additionally, these skills prepare students for productivity in a 21st century workplace.  Students who have not had the opportunity to acquire and hone these workplace readiness skills are at a clear disadvantage compared to peers when facing their first job.

This week, we celebrate 63 years of our nation’s declared intent to provide equal educational services to our children attending public schools.  We have looked at the provision of books and qualified teachers.  We have invested in buildings and furniture.  The digital divide shows us where our next hurdle is with respect to making sure that our schools prepare all of our children for the jobs ahead.

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About the author: Ruth Okoye

Dr. Ruth Okoye is the Director of K12 Initiatives at The Source for Learning. As a long-time technology coach, Ruth shares ideas and strategies for professional learning and thoughts on how to motivate yourself to “dig deeper” into educational technologies.


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