Sunday, August 8th, 2010 | education, ICT in Africa, technology
A huge gap exists between those sections of the population having access to digital resources, such as computers, the internet and other technologies, and those who are not as fortunate. This gap is known as the digital divide.
The digital divide is most easily observed when certain groups own digital resources – or at least have access to them – and other groups don’t. Most people in the developed world own digital tools, whereas those in the developing world don’t. But even within any one country this divide is also apparent when you compare the affluent part of the society with its poorer counterpart. The gap is made wider when internet access is not available – or affordable – and when people don’t have the necessary skills to use digital tools.
The digital divide is often linked to other divides, such as the gender gap, racial inequalities, the urban-rural divide and language barriers.
In Africa the digital divide is quite severe, and it often goes hand in hand with the other divides along gender, racial, location, language and poverty lines.
Teachers can play a critical role in erasing the digital divide. The first step is to obtain access to digital tools for your own use – this means you have to purchase a personal computer or a laptop, or arrange to use one on a regular basis. If you already have access to such a tool, you are indeed fortunate.
The next step is to learn how to use your digital device. At times you may feel like a tight-rope walker while battling to cross over to the milk and honey of the promised digital land, but with determination and perseverance you will succeed. Many of your peers have already done so.
You have to cross the digital divide first – only then will you be able to lead your learners safely over the chasm-crossing bridge.