Participation and the Digital Divide

Through participation in the weekly topics from Teaching and Learning in the digital world I have come to understand there is a digital divide worldwide including Australia. A digital divide is defined by oxford dictionaries a ‘The gulf between those who have ready access to computers and the internet, and those who do not.’ With first assumptions being this would be a third world problem, I soon found this to be untrue. When looking at the Australian statistics, 86 per cent of Australian households have some sort of internet connection (Howell, J. 2012). While this figure seems substantial there are still 14 per cent of households that remain unconnected resulting in a lack of participation in today’s global information society.

Participation in digital technology is key to overcoming the digital divide. There is a ‘digital expectancy’ attitude within  current Australian society; with teachers, parents, students, employers, governments and the wider community all expecting a certain skill set from any individual participating in today’s global information society. It is imperative that Australian schools bridge the digital divide by offering iPad, internet and computer studies so students can compete in today’s electronic era (Howell, J. 2012. P59). When students are given the opportunity to participate often with technology they build their skill set for future challenges.

It is important for me to have an understanding of the importance of participation and the digital divide for future teaching practices. Incorporating digital applications into class lessons not only increases children’s engagement but also increases excitement. Students want to be learning with technology and when paired with other subjects for example mathematics or history can increase the understanding of both subjects (Prensky, M. 2008). If these resources are available for use it would be both advantageous for the student and myself, giving the student the opportunity to use important tools that they might not get use of at home and assisting enjoyment of the subject.