Home > Uncategorized > Challenges Closing the Digital Divide

Challenges Closing the Digital Divide

May 31, 2012

Yesterday’s NYTimes featured an article describing a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation reporting that closing the digital divide by providing technology to children in poverty doesn’t close the academic divide. Indeed, it may contribute to a widening of the divide since many of the students receiving the new technology use it for games, TV, and social networking instead of academic enrichment. Two quotes stood out for me in the article:

 “…access is not a panacea,” said Danah Boyd, a senior researcher at Microsoft. “Not only does it not solve problems, it mirrors and magnifies existing problems we’ve been ignoring.”

Ms. Robell, the principal (of one of the students mis-using technology), said children needed to know how to use technology to compete, but her priorities for her students were more basic: “Breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Providing technology is one of the many “good, fast, and cheap” silver bullets that politicians and businessman espouse and many educators buy into… but the cold reality is that without early intervention and parental support for learning there is little schools or gadgets can do for students.

I remain convinced that technology can be a powerful tool for supplementing instruction and providing timely and meaningful data to parents, teachers and students. But in and of itself it cannot fix the problems children are born into or bring with them into the classroom.

%d bloggers like this: