Participation and the Digital Divide

imagesStudents of today’s Australian society have been born into a world where they are surrounded by digital technologies and given the name digital natives. A digital native is defined as “Individuals who are digitally fluent across all aspects of their life” (Howell, 2012, p.239). But not all students can be labeled as digital natives. There is a digital divide that is caused by socio-economic factors. Howell (2012) describes how students who come from a lower socio-economic household often have limited or no access to digital technologies. This in turn has a great negative impact on a student’s ability to participate in the digital world at home and in the school environment. Today there is a great digital expectancy by teachers, employers and parents for students to have digital fluency and be able to be active participants within the digital world. This digital expectancy is placed on schools to be able to bridge the digital divide between students from lower socio-economic backgrounds to be provided with an environment and materials to be able to learn to achieve digital fluency (Howell, 2012).

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Digital exclusion is defined as when an individual is unable to access and participate within the digital world. This leads to feelings of exclusion and isolation to society (Bentley, 2014). The author then goes on to explain how the number of Australians that are not accessing the Internet is one in five. This to me is quite a large and significant amount of people that are experiencing digital exclusion. A way that this digital exclusion and bridging of the digital divide between a students low socio-economic factors and access to digital technologies is being amended is by a project called One laptop per child. Nicholas Negroponte is the founder of this project to which he is bridging the digital divide by giving students in countries with low socio-economic status a laptop and access to the Internet so that they to can be active participants and learners within the digital community. If you are interested in finding out more information about this project the video is linked below.

Further links :

http://theconversation.com/the-digital-divide-is-narrowing-but-more-needs-to-be-done-25994

References

Barr, P. (n.d.). The Digital divide in narrowing but more needs to be done. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/the-digital-divide-is-narrowing-but-more-needs-to-be-done-25994

Bentley, P. (2014, July 3). Lack of Affordable broadband creating ‘digital divide’. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-02/bridging-the-digital-divide/5566644

Digital Undivide. (2013,April 19).What is the Digital Divide?. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQD5soc2r7Y

Google Images. (2014). Foreseeing the second wave of the digital divide [image]. Retrieved from https://www.google.com.au/search?q=participation+and+the+digital+divide&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjxqOCz3KbMAhWk26YKHSRoAGoQ_AUICCgC&biw=1296&bih=710#tbm=isch&q=+digital+divide&imgrc=WnyfcXgveUTFZM%3A

Google Images. (2016). Ed Tech: Closing the Digital Divide [image]. Retrieved from https://www.google.com.au/search?q=participation+and+the+digital+divide&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjxqOCz3KbMAhWk26YKHSRoAGoQ_AUICCgC&biw=1296&bih=710#tbm=isch&q=+digital+divide&imgrc=V4jFVfhPJ1hMyM%3A

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration & creativity. South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press

Negroponte, N. (2007, December). One Laptop per child, 2 years on. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/nicholas_negroponte_on_one_laptop_per_child_two_years_on

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