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.
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.
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