This week’s topic covered the digital divide issue. Digital divide is the gap between those who can afford and use digital technologies and those who cannot (Howell, 2012), and is represented in the infographic post below. Social-economic status (SES), accessibility, and infrastructure are factors that can impact a child’s digital knowledge and fluency, influencing their future career prospects and quality of life. Reflecting on this, my vision has expanded to clearly see the patterns that unfold within the digital divide, and why they can be difficult to rectify. For example, low SES families generally cannot afford technology, minimising their children’s ability to learn, and keep up with, the latest technologies. This stunts the child’s future career prospects, resulting in probable low-income employment in adulthood. They then produce offspring that are once again born into a family of low SES, and the cycle continues.
Nicholas Negroponte is inspirationally using his high SES and subsequent skillset for the greater good. He founded One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) in 2005 (Ted Talks, 2008) to help bridge the digital divide gap by developing manually powered laptops under a donation program, creating fair and equal opportunity for children of low SES countries and communities around the globe. OLPC in Australia has developed the program One Education (OLPC Australia, 2013) aiming to bridge the gap within Australia, which also compliments the first goal of the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians: “Australian schooling promotes equity” (Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, 2008, p. 7).
Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.
Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs [MCEETYA]. (2008). Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. Retrieved from http://www.mceecdya.edu.au/verve/_resources/National_Declaration_on_the_Educational_Goals_for_Young_Australians.pdf
One Laptop Per Child Australia. (2013). One Education. Retrieved from http://www.one-education.org
Ted Talks. (2008, June 27). Nicholas Negroponte: One Laptop per Child, two years on [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_TKjfgjiQs
Why Marche. (2014). Caution Digital Divide [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.whymarche.com/blog/2012/04/04/digital-divide-esiste-un-rimedio/