What is the Digital Divide?

The Digital Divide is simply defined as those who have proper and appropriate access to and benefit from digital technology and those who do not. There is a Global Digital Divide present between developed and underdeveloped countries, however, each country also has their own national digital divide. This separation is sometimes referred to as the "Technology Rich" versus the "Technology Poor".

What are the causes for the Digital Divide?

  1. Lack of Infrastructure available
  2. Lack of accessibility in developing worlds
  3. Affordability issues and Lack of proper devices

What is the U.S. Digital Divide?

The least connected americans, otherwise known as the "information underclass" are:
  • Minorities
  • Low Income households
  • Disabled
  • Single Parent households
  • Little Education
  • Central Cities
  • Rural Areas
The divide in the united states continues to grow because those with access to Information and Communications Technology use ICT more effectively, benefit from it, and then become even more privileged because of their accessibility. The divide isn't necessarily caused by choice, but rather a lack of infrastructure in certain areas.

What does the digital divide look like in U.S. Schools?

In the past two decades, the digital divide was most easily seen in districts with students that were minorities, came from low income households, and rural areas. In 1997, there were 9 students to every 1 computer in low income districts versus 6 students to every 1 computer in high income districts. However, by 2008, the digital divide was beginning to close in U.S. Public schools. In 1998, the nationwide ratio of students to computers was 12.1, however, by 2008 the ratio had fallen to 3.1 according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. In 2008, schools with 75% or more of their students receiving free or reduced-price lunch had a 3.2 student to computer ratio versus schools with 35% or less of their students receiving free or reduced-price lunch had a 3.1 student to computer ratio, very similar! Although, the gap continues to close, 83% of teachers in low income districts report that students use computers for basic needs, however, in the high income districts students are using the computers more in-depth. Their uses include writing, research, communication, and preparation of presentations.

What does the Global Digital Divide look like?

Although some may think that the global digital divide is caused by a lack of people able to connect to the internet, the digital divide worldwide is actually caused by a lack of infrastructure to allow some of these areas to even have a internet connection. Simply put, the Global Digital Divide is the Developed countries versus the Underdeveloped countries. The countries suffering the most are the sub-saharan countries in Africa, South America, and Asia. Because of their lack of infrastructure and connectivity, it is putting these countries at an even bigger disadvantage in their global economic presence.



What is being done to close the Digital Divide?

Closing the digital divide is important because it allows for economic equality, social mobility, democracy, and worldwide economic growth. The challenges presented by trying to close the digital divide are:
  • social and legal constraints
  • economic priorities
  • basic infrastructure
  • literacy and language
  • computer resources
  • personal choice
In order to close the digital divide, simply put, we need to create the infrastructure to make the internet readily available to everyone. After this has occurred, people need access proper internet connections and devices.

Cartoon: http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2010/05/digital-divide-tale-of-two-school.html

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCIB_vXUptY

One Laptop per Child wiki

Work Cited

"The Digital Divide, ICT and the 50x15 Initiative." Internet World Stats. Web. 6 June 2011. <www.internetworldstats.com>.

Foulger, Davis. "Seven Bridges Over the Global Digital Divide." Evolutionary Media. Web. 6 June 2011. <www.evolutionarymedia.com>.

Norris, Pippa. "The Worldwide Digital Divide: Information Poverty, the Internet and Development." Harvard University. Web. 6 June 2011. <www.hks.harvard.edu>.

Pirofski, Kira. "Are All Schools Equally Wired? An Overview of the Digital Divide in Elementary and Secondary Schools in the United States." Literacy and Technology. Web. 6 June 2011. <www.literacyandtechnology.org>.

Warschauer, Mark. "New Reports on Technology in U.S. Schools: The Changing Divide." Papyrus News. Web. 6 June 2011. <www.papyrusnews.com>.

Wolff, Laurence, and Soledad MacKinnon. "What Is the Digital Divide." Techknowlogia. 2002. Web. 6 June 2011. <www.techknowlogia.org>.