The Real Challenge of the Digital Divide

This article raises an essential point about efforts to overcome the Digital Divide:

Technology Is Making Achievement Gaps Bigger by Annie Murphy Paul (posted on The Brilliant Blog on June 25, 2014)

The real issue we face when we address the Digital Divide isn’t access to technology.

The real issue is digital literacy.

Our most important task isn’t merely to provide access to technology. We also have to teach people how to use it effectively and safely. People who don’t have the opportunity to use technology on a regular basis also don’t have an opportunity to develop effective digital skills. To quote the article above:

Not only are affluent kids more likely to know how to Google; they’re more likely to know what to Google for.

More than that—digital literacy is about teaching people why technology matters, how it can help to make their lives better. People who have gotten along without technology so far may not always recognize why access to it matters now.

It does no good to hand technology to someone who has no idea how to use it. Any attempt to overcome the Digital Divide must go hand-in-hand with digital literacy education and development.

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