Digital Divide Group #2

Shannon Ryan, Brenda Stephens, and Maurie Stockford

Definition

The digital divide is evolving and changing. Initially, the digital divide was defined by lack of access to technology. Over the last ten years, the digital divide gap for students has gotten smaller through free technology and internet access at schools, after school programs and public libraries. However, that access has not been equitable across socioeconomic classes and communities (Barron). The digital divide problem was addressed and access was improved, but the skills to navigate the technology properly, efficiently, and effectively is still an ongoing problem. The “second digital divide” or “second wave of the digital divide” is becoming more prominent and focuses on the usage of the technology (New). This shift in focus in defining the digital divide is supported in a recent article by Sharon Strover which states, by 2000 there was, “a new facet to the divide: the idea that capabilities and training figured into the divide question and the notion that technology alone was a sufficient remedy” (117). With the digital divide definition shifting, adequate training must be provided for students and teachers.

Advocacy

To create a solution to this problem there must be a clear understanding of the impact of the digital divide for children, adolescents, and teachers. The AASL standards states that “technology skills are crucial for future employment needs,” and “equitable access is a key component for education.” To adhere to these standards, technology skills and access to technology must exist in the K-12 school programs, regardless of the socioeconomic level or age of the learning community.

Solutions

There are steps members of the learning community can take, with the school librarian at the helm to lead the way. There are programs the library can offer for students, teachers, and parents. In addition, funds can be raised for technology, and grants and public policies can be adopted.
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