The Real Story of Digital Divide

rocket-609121_960_720The problem of digital divide isn’t in the fact that half of my students don’t have internet access at home. Even in homes where there is a computer, parents don’t let their children go online, for many good safety reasons. The real problem of digital divide is not about teachers not wanting to embrace technology. Technology is a great tool. We all wish we could have more tools to address student needs.
The truth of digital divide is in divide between rich and poor schools. In well funded schools, computers are available in every classroom. In poor schools, there is one lab and students get an access to it once a week. During testing weeks, students don’t get an access to the lab at all, often weeks on end.
Wealthy schools provide digital textbook access, along with animation and home site access. Underfunded schools are likely to have outdated books, often not even enough of them. The digital access is non-existent for all, teachers, students, or home access.
The digital divide is the most obvious between traditional public and charter schools. Charter schools use their funds to first pay corporate salaries and lease buildings, which makes the money for technology scarce. This lack of school resources places students at educational disadvantage. Sadly, even though charter schools advertise themselves as a better alternative to traditional public school, they have a hard time delivering on their promise.
If we are to close the digital divide, we have to put students first. All schools should be required to provide equal digital access. It should go for all schools, traditional public or charter. Charter schools, as schools funded by taxpayers dollars, should be required to equip their schools first, then worry about their corporate salaries and expenses. Underfunded should not be allowed to operate until they are equipped properly. Why do school districts allow this to go on?

“Among teachers in the highest income areas, 70% said their school gave them good support for incorporating technology into their teaching. Among teachers in the lowest income areas, that numbers was just 50%.” digitalresponsibility.org

“The report found a “digital divide” among students in different types of schools, with–perhaps not surprisingly–students at selective enrollment high schools, magnet schools and higher-performing schools using technology the most for school work.” Retrieved from: http://catalyst-chicago.org/2013/04/digital-divide-among-cps-students-schools-study/

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