When you live in a digitally dense location like I do, you often tend to forget that not every family has an iPad of their own. That not even every family has access to the internet. In fact, only 86% of Australian households have access to the internet, with only 62% accessing broadband (Howell, 2012, p. 56), which shocked me when I first read about it. In a world that is becoming increasingly more digital, with employers, teachers and even students expecting technology to be integral to their learning, how are teacher’s supposed to cater to children who do not even have access to their own computer? How are we supposed to bridge this digital divide? Some governments and companies are attempting to at least provide each child with a laptop (especially the One laptop per child intiative) – but is that really enough? If these children can not even access the internet from their homes, are these laptops going to be put to as effective use as they could be? I am not sure how society can go about completely bridging these gaps, short of internet access becoming a (free) human right in Australia (as it is in some European countries), but my first thought involves schools having computer labs and iPads that are open and available for use in after school hours, as well as teachers on hand who can teach the less privileged children how to use these devices. In order for children to be able to thrive properly after leaving school, we need to ensure that all of them, regardless of their socio-economic background, have at least had the opportunity to learn the basic skills. In a world that is already highly digital, and is only going to become more so, can we really afford to have so many of our fellow man left behind due to the digital divide? I leave you with this interesting graphic about the digital divide in the UK. The image Digital Nation? (Helen Milner, 2013)
Helen Milner. (2013). Digital Nation? [Image] Retrieved from: http://helenmilner.com/2013/11/11/digital-nation-get-the-picture/ Howell, J. (2012) Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. Victoria, Australia. Oxford University Press.