It has been a busy few weeks, during the course of which I have been reading and researching the effects of digital inequality and the digital divide. This has been an eye opening re-affirming experience that has validated my beliefs that teaching students to use technology in the classroom is vital. In addition to teach students, it is our role as educators to model appropriate technology usage for pursuits other than entertainment and to encourage student use of these emerging technologies for educational applications.
The research conducted by my group and myself resulted in designing a collaborative presentation on how to bridge the digital divide. Despite the fact that we are all in different timezones we were able to collaborate in real time using Blackboard Collaborate, Google Docs, and Voice Thread to create a cohesive presentation.
Our assignment was as follows:
In this assignment you will tackle a difficult scenario, crafting a presentation with your classmates that addresses the issues and presents additional alternatives.
- Synthesize research into a coherent presentation identifying and addressing issues of digital divide and digital inequality.
- Evaluate digital inequality solutions.
- Apply technology skills in preparing a VoiceThread presentation.
In the scenario below you will take on the persona of an educational technologist, a leader with vision, compassion, and special insights into the technological needs of your state’s residents.
Your TO DO List
You and your classmates are members of a Digital Inequality Task Force hired by your State Superintendent of Public Instruction. She has been given a special allocation of $50M to address digital inequalities in the state, and she wants the Task Force to consider the following seven options:
- Install computers in all public libraries in the state and expand the hours when the computers are available.
- Expand staffing and other resources so that public schools can be open to the public after normal school hours, on weekends, and during the summer months.
- Provide individuals in disadvantaged communities with computers.
- Provide high-speed Internet and mobile access for all state residents.
- Subsidize Internet Service Providers to provide low-cost Internet to all state residents.
- Provide information literacy courses to enhance computer skills and enable knowledgeable use of digital technologies.
- Develop free online educational content, giving first priority to content most relevant to lower socio-economic groups before content that is relevant to the rest of the public.
2. Your Assignment
As a member of this Task Force to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, you are assigned the task of evaluating these alternatives, possibly suggesting other alternatives, and giving recommendations. She has asked your group to prepare a multimedia presentation that will be delivered to all the relevant stakeholders. In this presentation, you will:
- Explain your concept of digital inequality and why it is a critical issue in education today;
- List the seven options suggested by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction;
- Describe any alternative(s) in addition to the seven you believe should be considered; and
- Identify the strongest alternatives and the weakest alternatives and why you rate them as you do.