Archive for the ‘computer literacy’ Tag

More thoughts on the Digital Divide

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

The main impression I have about the digital divide is the economics behind the issue. I always focused on the inability of the individual or family to be able to afford a computer, as this seemed to be the forefront of the issue. I see in my classroom students who don’t have internet access at home nor do they have the ability to get to a library or a local computer access point. Although little difference it would make as many computer cafes would be too expensive anyway. Money does play a large factor in certain populations of our communities not having access to computers there is more to the divide than at first glance.
There is also the ability to use the computer which can add to the divide. When individuals don’t have access to a computer they will not know how to use it. A lot of us take for granted the ease with which we use our computers as we go about our various tasks and for someone who never uses one it could be a taxing event. Also one cannot forget about all the reading that has to be done on the web. The majority of the websites are written for high school level readers who are fairly fluent in english and with nearly 40% of the USA population having lower literacy skills there is a divide in the ability to read and comprehend material. The inability to understand greatly inhibits a persons ability to create, especially on the web.
The ability to create on the web is also an area which reflects a divide in its users. There is a thought in cyberspace that about 90% of users don’t contribute, 9% contribute some but not often enough and about 1% are the main contributors of online content. I believe the statement to be true of the majority of online content but feel education has a higher number of contributors.
I believe all of these aspects of the digital divide work in unison to create the divide. There is no one single inequality that out weighs any other as they all hinder certain parts of our communities to further their understanding of using computers to enhance their lives. Is this not to say that life without computers is of lesser value or interest, but go apply for nearly any job and it will require at minimum some knowledge of computer use and even to apply at some stores you would need access to the web to fill out the application. There is a need for computer skills and those who don’t have the opportunity to learn will get left behind.