The Digital|Divide

As recent blogs’ have expressed, we are clearly living in a digital age. We are quick to assume everyone has internet access and thus an online identity, so much so, the few occasions where I am faced by someone without a social media profile baffles me. The nature of the internet’s accessibility in the UK, with free Wi-Fi being available in so many places and almost every household having internet access, we struggle to even fathom a world existing without the internet. However, for many, this is a reality. Most the world’s population are still offline.

The digital divide is defined as a ‘term that refers to the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology, and those that don’t or have restricted access’. As countries’ have developed and with the internet becoming a major part of communication, we have found the divide to be between those with and without internet access. These people are usually referred to as the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have-Nots’. The video and presentation below gives some more insight into this.

 

The internet is a large part of the way we learn. For example, this very module is all online, without the internet, none of what is occurring on this page would be possible. A study carried out by Jerry Chih-Yuan Sun explores the affect the digital divide has on education. It focussed on technology use, socio-economic status, academic performance and the relationship between all three. The findings showed subjects such as maths and science are positively linked to technology and how coming from a lower socio-economic background made it more difficult to have access to technology. This may prove to have an adverse effect on one’s future with the internet and social media playing massive parts in a person’s employability.

This study demonstrates a microcosm of a much wider scale issue, the global digital divide. This is the divide between the parts of the world that have a predominant amount of internet access, the western world, and the parts where internet access is more restricted, the poorer, less developed countries. The poorer nations are unable to afford the necessary infrastructure which puts them at further disadvantage. The lack of internet access means schools in these countries are unable to teach IT skills and take advantage of the information on the web. Further displaying how impactful the divide is to education. Hence then need to bridge the gap.

A project was recently launched by Navarrow Wright to ‘Close The Divide’, explained in his Ted talk below.

Sources

Leo Kelion, BBC, 2013. UK jumps up internet scoreboard as digital divide grows

Burn & Loch, 2003. The Societal Impact of the World Wide Web – Key Challenges for the 21st Century.

WhatIs.com. Digital Divide definition

Elaine Smith, YouTube, 2012. What is the Digital Divide

Lee Rainie, PewResearchCenter, 2016. Digital Divide 2016

Jerry Chih-Yuan Sun, 2011. The Digital Divide and Its Impact on Academic Performance

Divided by Technology. The impact of the Global Digital Divide

Navarrow Wright, 2015. The New Digital Divide: The Perception Problem

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3 thoughts on “The Digital|Divide

  1. Hi Kevin,

    I was excited to read your blog this week as you spoke about the issue ‘digital divide’, which I also focused on in my blog post. It was great to read your side of the argument and see your take from all the research you have gathered.

    You mentioned ‘the divide being between those with and without internet access’, although I agree this is one of the main determinants (I talked about Cuba’s lack of hotspots in my own blog), do you agree that being able to keep up to date with technology is also an important factor for causing the wide divide? Moreover, that perhaps there is a digital age gap and thats causing a divide between generations?

    Overall, really liked your layout and the use of media used, especially the factual presentation.

    Looking forward to your next blog!

    Thanks,
    Davina

    Like

    1. Hi Davina,

      Thank you for your lovely comments. I also read your thoughts on the digital divide and appreciated your take and first hand encounter with it in Cuba.

      You’ve touched on a very interesting and important point which I also saw you identified in your blog post. I do completely agree that a factor that contributes to ones ability to access the internet are the laws and resources within that country as I slightly touched on in my last paragraph. Certain countries, much like Cuba, do not necessarily have the technological infrastructure to provide internet access nationwide hence the mass build up of people in one of the few wi-fi hotspots.

      The concept of a digital age gap is also quite intriguing to me and something I had not really thought about until now. My thoughts on it are that there is definitely currently a digital age gap, but I feel this divide is also narrowing as more and more people are becoming ‘natives’ to technology.

      Thanks again, and I am, likewise, looking forward to your next blog.

      Like

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