Participation and the Digital Divide

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Integrating technology into our lives opens the door for increased learning opportunities and a more knowledgable and creative society.

As a pre-service teacher with technology and digital devices deeply embedded in her life, I am guilty of assuming everyone is so accepting of this revolution. I was surprised when I learnt of the large volume of people that choose not to adapt to this change or are unable to access these newer conventions due to economical or geographical reasons. Corporations, educational institutions and the Australian Government have implemented steps to help bridge the divide through programs like Infoxchange (Bentley, 2014), Computerbank (Bentley, 2014) and the National Broadband Network (Fifield, 2015) however, the problem remains with those of older generations who decide not to accept technology into their lives. They form part of the digital abyss due to a lack of understanding of how to use newer technologies and their benefits (Molinari, 2011). I believe parents who fall into this category and are reluctant to embrace technology, could potentially disadvantage their children’s education and pose additional challenges to educators, who aim to prepare students to succeed and function in today’s digital world.

…the digital divide is a new illiteracy…[those]…digitally excluded… will be less informed, they will be less inspired and they will be less responsible” (Molinari, 2011).

Informing myself of the benefits of incorporating technology in the classroom and at home, will assist me as a teacher in closing the digital divide.  Conveying these to parents and caregivers by linking technology’s relevance to the real world and, its benefits within an educational context of increased engagement, collaboration and communication  (Carey, 2012), will help me to achieve this goal.  Although Prensky’s (2008) suggestion some teacher’s may also have resistance towards digital integration, their skill-set must evolve to meet the digital expectancy of their students (Howell, 2012) and the requirements of the Australian Curriculum (Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2015).  I now have clarity that my currency as a twenty-first century educator must include equipping myself with the skills to not only develop students’ digital citizenship, but also to educate to the outer school community of the benefits of technology to help close the digital divide.

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A large component of the characteristics listed in this article is the digital integration required to be a teacher in the 21st century.

 

References

Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2015). v8.1 Foundation to Year 10 Curriculum: Technologies. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/technologies/introduction

Bentley, P. (2014). Lack of affordable broadband causing ‘digital divide’. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-02/bridging-the-digital-divide/5566644

Carey, J. (2012, December 14). How to gain parent buy-in for classroom technology integration [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://plpnetwork.com/2012/12/14/gain-parent-buy-in-tech-integration/

Fifield, M. (2015, October 1). New nbn satellite to close digital divide [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.minister.communications.gov.au/mitch_fifield/news/new_nbn_satellite_to_close_digital_divide#.VxHOeZN97ow

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT. South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press

Molinari, A. (2011, October 16). Bridging the digital divide [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaxCRnZ_CLg

Prensky, M. (2008). The 21st-Century digital learner. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/ikid-digital-learner-technology-2008

 

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