Equity or Digital Divide?

As I read through this article, Digital Divide Is ‘Major Challenge’ In Teaching Low-Income Students, Survey Finds by Betsy Isaacson, I realize a Digital divide exist in this society and it is affecting large number of students. In the findings of the survey report http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/02/28/how-teachers-are-using-technology-at-home-and-in-their-classrooms/) it is concerning that the digital divide as we think of it is much greater than what we think. Isaacson states in her article that 3 percent of low-income students have access to Internet at home in contrast to 50 percent of higher-income students, which is a huge number. It is very much true that we can spot almost every teenager using smart phones in an urban area, it is not hard to think of days when students will be allowed to use their own devices in school for learning given that the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is becoming a growing tend these days. So how does these lower income group student cope up with this reality?

As I study this course Technology in Education for my class and learning to work on various technology projects like flipped classroom lesson, digital story creator and other educational resources available on Internet it is disheartening to know that students and schools in low-income area have no access or minimal access to technology and Internet. Digital divide is a major concern, the Wall Street Journal reported in the article, “The Web-Deprived Study at McDonald’s” that students from low-income group have to use free Internet access at McDonalds and Starbucks to complete their school work.

One of the main reasons for Digital divide is that schools cannot afford enough computers and students do not have technology at home. Digital divide also raises a very important question of equity, free and appropriate education is a fundamental right of all the students but not all students receive them equally. To bridge this divide in my classroom, I would allow students to work on computer and Internet during guided activity time, extra work time or spare time will be allotted so that they get advantage of using internet catching up with technology. Another suggestion I have for schools is to partner with Businesses and get a hotspot for educational use in school and homes. I would also like to make suggestion that both federal government and state government should provides some incentives in form of tax rebates etc. so that more businesses come forward and help bridge this digital divide.

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