OECD explains the Digital Divide as : “ the gap between individuals, households, businesses and geographic areas at different socio-economic levels with regard to both their opportunities to access information and communication technologies (ICTs) and to their use of the Internet for a wide variety of activities” The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) The have’s and the Have not’s
“ The digital divide prevents people from getting an education because they don't have access to the right technology” Judy Block (2010)
We have shifted from industry as our mainstay to information. As our society progresses a computer is now needed just to compete. And many rural areas across North America still lack sufficient access to the internet and therefor are limited in what type of education they can receive
“ It is important to remember that access is still a barrier for many distance learners. This is effectively shutting them out of the opportunity to connect with the rest of the world, engage and participate as a lifelong student.”. Broadbandmap.gov
Lack of sufficient internet is not the only concern dealing with the digital divide.
Closing the digital divide involves many components. Funding for broadband access for the low income and education for those who lack the expertise to navigate a computer are two factors that would help narrow the gap
Libraries may provide a major role in the narrowing of the Digital Divide. “ Libraries have a key role in assisting in closing the "digital divide." Public libraries have helped close the digital divide by bringing free Internet and computer access to the common person--particularly those who lack access at home or work”. Judy Block (2010)
Technology alone will not narrow the gap of the digital divide. The fastest computers or the fastest Internet access available will not do the job alone but it will provide the basic tools needed for society to do the rest.
Block, Judy (2010). Distance Education and the Digital Divide: An Academic Perspective. Retrieved on 16 June, 2011 from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/spring131/block131.html
OECD. (2006) Understanding the Digital Divide. Retrieved on 16 June, 2011 from http://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=4719