Tech and the Digital Divide

Some food for thought (Questions posed by: “Bridging the Gap: Unraveling the Digital Divide,” Turner, 2023)

1. Who do you know that is impacted by the digital divide?

At the moment, I see two groups being impacted by the digital divide in my immediate space. First, people in my parent’s generation often need help keeping up with technology. Goodness, I remember being a young elementary school student and having to set up our family’s first desktop computer because it was beyond my parent’s understanding. In recent years, my parents have been forced to get more high-tech cell phones to communicate with me in China. They didn’t know how to download apps on their new phones, but I got them set up on WeChat last year when I came home after Covid restrictions were lifted in China. Those were four challenging years in China with minimal contact. While more older people in China can actively use their cell phones due to cellphone-based payment systems, it differs in Canada. I always appreciate places like the local library continuing to offer free classes on using basic technology to

(Playground-v2.5, 2024)

try and bridge the gap. The second group I see impacted is students. One may think they are far ahead in their understanding of technology, but that is different. There were parts of the generation where most of the technology was already user-friendly and needed little understanding to make it work. I have middle and high school students who need to learn how to use Microsoft Word or PowerPoint and how to operate proper searches on Google or academic databases. It is startling at times, but as I mentioned before, I was part of that generation that fiddled to figure things out and had to step up to help our parents who didn’t understand the new advancements.

2. How can you contribute to mitigating it?

(Playground-v2.5, 2024)

For my parent’s generation, I always patiently jumped at the chance to help someone who wanted to learn technology. My coworkers of various ages at my current school wish to learn new things to stay relevant in the classroom. I helped run an AI PD this year and assisted parents in understanding how AI works when their learners use it. As for my students, I force them to go back to the basics in Word and PPT. They need to learn foundational skills to work in our current technology climate, no matter how late they are. The class has been stopped on multiple occasions as soon as I find students who need to learn basic commands or tools on their computers. It may be something small, but it is what I can do to make a change.

3. How can you improve your own digital skills?

Technology has evolved further with the implementation of AI in recent years. After starting my master’s program, I realized how much Edtech I didn’t know. I soak up all new technology information and bookmark links to always learn something new to bring into the classroom. I don’t shy away from learning new things, either. I need to be a YES woman if I want to improve!

One thought on “Tech and the Digital Divide

  1. Hi Carol,

    I also wrote about the divide between the generations. I am glad to see that someone else notices the strange lack of media/technological literacy in our students, even though most of them grew up when the technology was already at it’s height. I find that in the senior levels, I am still having to tell kids how to use Google and that no, Google cannot be a citation and the black writing the Google gives you as an answer does in fact come from a website. That, among many other things, leaves me speechless at times. How am I supposed to prepare students for the world if they don’t understand how to check sources and how to word a question for research? At times, I feel like I am back tracking so much to teach what I thought were basic skills that I feel like I don’t teach any lesson content, and that some of the bigger picture things get lost on the way or overshadowed by skill development that should already be there.

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