Thursday, December 1, 2011

Digital Divide, does it exist?

As part of my research on digital divide, I took the opportunity to visit a couple of schools. At first, I looked at two different elementary schools; however, both seemed to show the same digitial divides. So, I decided to also evaluate a middle school that takes pride on the amount of technology is attainable at the school.

Divide #1: (Digital Divide) Lack of technology usage at homes as well as in the classroom. Many of the students have computers at home, but, according to the students, they don't use them very often.
During my observation, I only saw one class using computers out of three classroom observations. One of the teachers informed me that her class does use computers on a weekly basis, but she makes sure that her homework is not from internet/computers because her students don't seem to use home computers. When I asked the students, twenty of the twenty-three students said they had computers at home and like to play games on them. However, none of the students seem to use computers at home for education purposes. The solution to this seems to be incorporation of computers into the class on a weekly basis. Since the teacher has twenty-three students, she has two parent volunteers come in to help her with the facilitating and helping the students. I had the chance to watch many of the fourth graders create a newletter/flier with microsoft publisher. Many of the students knew how to download pictures from the internet and paste them into their newsletters. It was pretty neat to see!!

Divide #2: (Digital Equity) Lack of knowledge of technology uses
During my observations of the middle school, I took the opportunity to visit a Language Arts teacher. The first day, she used the computer/projector to show a video. The second day, she didn't even use the computer or projector. This particular teacher seemed to have a great deal of knowledge on her content, but didn't realize there are technogical resources to help her enhance the students' learning experience. I asked her if she had ever heard of "quizlet," an online flash card program instead of having the students create actual flash cards. She said: "I have not." When it comes to technology, I know that I try to take as many classes as possible to further my knowledge and ways that I can enhance my teaching. However, some teachers are still not comfortable with technology. The solution to this is to create more professional development opportunities. By creating classes that teach technology and give time for educators to learn the material (so they develop confidence) will be beneficial for the teacher as well as the students!

Divide #3: (Technology Equity) Lack of Technological Resources
At the elementary school, I noticed that there was only one computer lab with fifteen computers were available for the school. The teachers had one computer available in their classrooms, but throughout my observations, the teachers didn't seem to use them that often. I asked the director of the school if they used a great deal of technology, and he said there was a little, but they didn't use it that often because of lack of resources available to them. A solution to this is grant writing! Many technological enterprises are willing to give discounts and possiblities for donations. The key is to ask!

Digital Divide Resources

Jobe, H. (n.d.). Technology, equity, and access. Retrieved from

Sutton, B. (2008, August 17). [SITEBlog]. Retrieved from

Sutton, B. (2006, August 17). Digital equity: Working together for a solution. Retrieved from

The digital divide: Issues and possible solutions. (2007, January 27). Retrieved from

Warschauer, M., Knobel, M., & Stone, L. (2004). Technology and equity in schooling:. Retrieved from The digital divide: Issues and possible solutions. (2007, January 27). Retrieved from

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