Digital Divide/Digital Inequality

I was asked to consider the digital divide and digital inequality that exists in my school community and how it compares to the world.  My colleagues and I frequently wish that we had more technology to use in the classroom and that students had more access to technology at home.  I suppose that you have to put it in perspective that our area has more Internet connectivity than Africa, so we need to be grateful for what we have.  I was surprised by the articles that I read while doing my research kept referring to the Internet as a right and compared it to running water.  I understand that the Internet is required to keep up to speed in today’s society and to make yourself a resourceful student and a marketable job applicant, but it is not required to survive.  Even though I depend on the Internet and use it at least 5-10 times per day, I could still live without it.  Yes, life would be more difficult and progress more slowly to find directions, research a paper, or communicate with a friend or colleague.  The perspective of the Internet being a necessity instead of a bonus in life is going to take some time to settle with me.  Does that put me on the wrong side of the digital inequality, since I could make the choice to go without the Internet?  I was intrigued by the idea that the inequality gap keeps growing.  It makes sense to think that the more a student practices with technology, the more efficient he or she will be.  The students without the access to practice will not make improvements.

In the past, I thought that the lack of Internet access among my students was due to financial reasons.  That still plays a large part in the household’s decisions, but I was surprised by how many residences in my county physically do not have internet access at their property.  The county’s telecommunications plan that I used in my presentation was adopted in 2012 and had a goal of 100% Internet connectivity in 3-5 years.  I suppose that I will need to encourage the influential people in our school system to follow up with the county to see if they are close to meeting that goal.

Multimedia can be a powerful tool, but it can be overwhelming for the audience very easily.  In the past, I have used Microsoft PowerPoint.  I have explored Google Slides in the past, but I have never created a presentation with it.  I have always tried to limit the animations on a PowerPoint because I felt like the timing was off.  I never enjoyed the sound effects that were available in PowerPoint; I found them to be tacky.  I’m glad to know those features are not highly regarded in the community, so it is fine if I avoid them.  My text, graphics, and narration should tell the story, not all the bells and whistles.

If I had more time, I would like to help the school system and county have their residents complete a survey.  I would want the questionnaire to include items such as if they have Internet available at their property, have Internet access but cannot afford it, and have regular access to a device to access the Internet.  I would want to present this information to the school board and the technology staff in the school system to try to help more students get the access that they need in order to stop falling farther behind on the digital inequality scale.

Digital Divide VoiceThread Presentation

Digital Divide Google Slides

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