What is the “digital divide”?

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 | laptops

All data used by a computer is represented as either a “1″ or a “0″ (positive or non-positive states).  The term “digital” describes electronic technology that generates, stores, and processes data in terms of these two states.

There is a huge gap between those sections of the population that have access to digital resources, such as computers, the internet, and other technologies, and those sections of the population that do not. This gap is known as the “digital divide“.

The digital divide includes the imbalance in physical access to digital and information technology but it also includes the imbalance in connectivity, and the skills needed to participate effectively as a digital citizen.

The digital divide is often linked to other divides, such as the gender gap, racial inequalities, urban-rural divide, the gulf between rich and the poor, and developed versus developing world.

In Africa the digital divide is quite severe, and it often goes hand in hand with the other divides along gender, racial, location and poverty lines.

Teachers can play a critical role in crossing this digital divide.  Acquiring a laptop is the first important step to remove the divide between teachers who have access to the technology and those who do not.  Learning to use it will remove the divide between those with the capabilities to use technology and those who do not have those capabilities.

Once a teacher crosses the digital divide, they will be able to lead learners over the bridge.

Click here to find answers to more laptop related questions.

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2 Comments to What is the “digital divide”?

Dwayne Bailey
Tuesday, 21 April, 2009

And of course the biggest one that all technologist miss… the language divide.

Many people simply cannot use technology because they don’t speak English. No matter how many computers or how good the connectivity if you don’t address language your technology effort is hamstrung from the start.

kvanwyk
Tuesday, 21 April, 2009

Dwayne, thank you for pointing out this omission. Of course, language is a great barrier. The purpose of my current series of articles on laptops is to provide information to teachers about laptops, but it is in English, and in so doing I am missing the greatest part of an audience I am trying to reach.

If one clicks on your name in your comment above, one is taken to your blog, and browsing through it one gets an indication of the excellent work your organization is doing in making technology available to all language groups. Could you please provide us with more relevant links where folks could learn more about this important issue?

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