Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 | Computer Usage, ICT in Africa
The opposite of the digital divide is digital inclusion. You are digitally included when you have access to digital resources and have learned how to use them – you have crossed the divide and are reaping the benefits of access to the digital world.
Teachers, are you digitally included?
You should be! Teachers play a critical role in helping learners to move towards digital inclusion. But teachers must hurry up – learners are overtaking them. Many learners have cell phones in their pockets. They seldom use these devices to make calls – they don’t have money to do so. They mainly use them to send text messages and pictures – in digital format – to their friends.
Where does this leave the teacher?
A cell phone used to send and retrieve digital information is a digital device. Learners using such devices are digitally connected – they have achieved a measure of digital inclusion and are no longer on the wrong side of the digital divide.
Children are mostly using technology for entertainment. Those who have their own computers, or have access to them at home, use them to play games; they download music videos and movies; and they interact with their friends on Facebook. When their digital inclusion is through cell phones, they use these devices for social networking. It is debatable how much learning takes place in this way. For meaningful and directed learning to happen, they need guidance – guidance that only their teachers can give them.
Sadly, some teachers have not yet made the transition to become digitally included – they are left behind, while the learners are surging ahead. Learners need guidance, but how can they be guided if their guides have been left behind?
The role of teachers is an important one. You have to guide them so that their tools of choice – computers and cell phones – are used gainfully as learning aids. In this way they will build skills required for prospering in the twenty-first century.
For more technology tips for teachers click here.