Digital Divide

To see the formatted version: https://docs.google.com/a/u.boisestate.edu/document/edit?id=16sfz0JEAmbXkky–PEj1akBgQiFyTeWYwYI5Oa52uVg&hl=en#

Dr. Richard Hutnik
Principal, Sammy McClure Jr. Middle School
315 Bob Grogan Drive
Dallas, GA 30132

Dear Dr. Hutnik,                        September 14, 2010

As a leader in this school and an example for the community, there are concerns that we need to address. Although, we strive to do our best to educate our students based on the Georgia Performance Standards and Curriculums from the state Board of Education, there is an area we are deficient in. As stated in by Bennett, Cole, Tapia, and Reeder “The ‘digital divide’ is the term used to describe the growing gap, or social exclusion, between those who have access to the new services of the information society, and those who do not.” (www.marisatapia.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Bridging-the-Digital-Divide-for-Latina-Girls-Analysis-doc.pdf)
When our students leave our hallowed halls, some are at a disadvantage because of the technology available to them at home. Barzilai-Nahon, K. (2006) identified the main areas of differences to be: Ethnicity, Income, Age, Gender, Education, and Rural Residence. These studies and others focus on the idea of the “haves and have nots”. They also identify the difference in the terms access and use, as there are those who have access and choose not to use technology.
As time passes and technology spreads, there has been a change from the use of the term “digital divide” to “digital inequality”. DiMaggio and others have now identified new areas of concern: Equipment;
autonomy of use; skill; social support networks; and use patterns (2001). The good news is that these areas can be changed through education.
DiMaggio continues by adding “new adopters who are disprivileged with respect to one or more status parameters may serve as conduits through which information about the new technology flows to others who share those disadvantaging characteristics.” (2001) I feel we can make a huge impact on the quality of life of not only our students but also their families and other member of our community as well. We need to continue to teach our students during school hours to use technology and be the “lanterns of knowledge” at home. I would also challenge our staff to extend our resources to evening “technology programs” where our students can showcase what they have learned at school and educate their support systems who may fall into one or more of these new five dimensions of digital inequality. We must do our part to help close the digital divide.

Sincerely,
Liz Dean
References

Barzilai-Nahon, K. (2006). Gaps and bits: Conceptualizing measurements for digital divide/s. The Information Society, 22(5), 269-278.

DiMaggio, P., & Hargittai, E. (2001). From the ‘digital divide’ to ‘digital inequality:’ Studying Internet use as penetration increases. Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, Working Paper Series number, 15. Retrieved from http://www.princeton.edu/~arts…gittai.pdf

Computer and Internet Use by Students in 2003. (2006). Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2006065

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