Solutions to digital inequality david weddle
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  • 1. Solutions to Digital Inequality
    By David Weddle
  • 2. Digital Inequality in Virginia
    Source: Bohland, Papadakis, Worrall and Zellmer
  • 3. From Digital Divide to Digital Inequality
    Digital Divide = The divide between those with access to new technologies and those without it
    Defined by the US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
    DiMaggio and Hargittai proposed the concept of digital inequality
    Inequality among the internet users in the extent to which they are able to reap benefits from their use of technology.
    New definition goes beyond differences in access
  • 4. Five Dimensions of Digital Inequality
    Source: Zhao and Wang
  • 5. Dimensions of Digital Inequality
    Technical Apparatus -- Does the student have a computer?
    Autonomy of Use– How do students access the internet at different locations (School, library, etc.)
    Availability of Social Support– Attitude toward internet use of superiors or teachers
    Variation of Use– The main activities for leisure or study goals when using the internet
    Skill– Capabilities of the student in using the internet
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  • 6. Why is Digital Inequality Important?
    Internet access expands access to education, jobs and better health
    Provides a place for political discussion and provides citizens with direct access to government
    Educational attainment is strongly associate d with rates of internet use
    In 2001, 65% of employed people 16 years of age or older were internet users, compared to 37% of those who were not working (DiMaggio and Hargittai)
    Krueger reported that workers who use computers on the job earned 10 to 15 % more than their otherwise similar peers (DiMaggio and Hargittai)
    Freeman reports that use of the internet is associated with higher wages (DiMaggio and Hargittai)
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  • 7. $50 Million to Address Digital Inequalities
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  • 8. Solution #1
    Install computers in all public libraries in the state and expand hours when the computers are available
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  • 9. Solution #2
    Expand staffing and other resources so that public schools can be open to the public after normal school hours, on weekends, and during the summer months
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  • 10. Solution #3
    Provide individuals in disadvantaged communities with computers
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  • 11. Solution #4
    Provide high-speed internet access and mobile access for all state residents
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  • 12. Solution #5
    Subsidize internet service providers to provide low-cost internet to all state residents
  • 13. Solution #6
    Provide information literacy courses to enhance computer skills and enable knowledgeable use of digital technologies
  • 14. Solution #7
    Develop free online educational content, giving first priority to content most relevant to lower socio-economic groups before content that is relevant to the rest of the public
  • 15. Best OPTIONS…
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  • 16. Solution #1
    Public internet access plays an important role in narrowing the digital gap (Hong & Huang)
    An important institution for facilitating information access and bridging the digital divide (Bertot)
    People with low-income levels are more likely to use the internet in libraries (DiMaggio)
  • 17. Solution #2
    Properly trained staff can help with computer literacy
    Children are comfortable within the school environment
    Lead children toward using the computer for educational purposes
    Other benefits such as keeping children involved and out of trouble
  • 18. Solution #6
    Provide students with tools necessary to use the computer efficiently
    Teachers and trained staff members help to reinforce children’s learning
  • 19. Not So Fast My Friend…
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  • 20. Solution #3, #4 and #5
    Simply having a computer doesn’t mean children know how to use it
    What is the computer being used for?
    Malamud and Cristian Pop-Eleches found that children who won vouchers for personal computers had lower grades in math
    Clotfelter, Ladd and Vigdor found that providing universal access to home computers and high-speed internet access would broaden math and achievement gaps
  • 21. Solution #7
    Access is still a problem!
  • 22. Additional Solutions
    Install computers and trained staff promoting computer literacy in community centers and public housing
    Require technology centers in developments that receive public financing
    Use a combination of solutions 1 and 2 to introduce technology and provide the necessary staffing to reinforce learning
  • 23. THE END
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  • 24. References
    Bertot, J.C., McClure; C.R. Jaeger, P.T. and Ryan, J. Public libraries and the internet 2006, Study results and findings, retrieved September 27 at
    Bohland, James; Papadakis, Maria; Worrall, Richard and Zellmer, David. The digital dominion’s digital divide. Spring 2001
    Clotfelter, Charles T.; Ladd, Helen F. and Vigdor,Jacob L. Scaling the digital divide: Home computer technology and student achievement
    DiMaggio, Paul; Hargittai, Eszter; Celeste, Coral and Shafer, Steven. From unequal access to differentiated use: A literature review and agenda for research in digital inequality
    Malamud, Ofer and Pop-Eleches, Cristian. Home computer use and the development of capital. January 2010.
    Zhao, Ling; Lu, Yaobin; Huang, Wayne and Wang, Qiuhong. Internet inequality: The relationship between high school students’ internet use in different locations and their internet self-efficacy. Computers and Education, Volume 55, Issue, December 2010, Pages 1405-1423.