The Digital Divide
What is it?
Where do we go from here?
we go from
What is the Digital Divide?
The digital divide is an inequality or gap between
groups, broadly construed, in terms of access to, use
or knowledge of information and communication
Dimensions of the Divide
• Service Availability- The service made available through the use of
ICTs should be freely available to all who might wish to make use of
• Awareness- Everyone is aware of how they might be able to use
ICTs for their own benefit
• Opportunity to learn and use new media- Everyone has the
opportunity to attain computer literacy.
• Mastery of technologies- Everyone understands which tools are
best suited for which tasks.
• Experience- Everyone is able to accumulate sufficient experience
with the use of ICTs to enable them to fully exploit their potential.
• Skills- Everyone has the right skills for performing ICT related tasks.
• Support- Everyone has access to appropriate assistance when they
need it to help them make good use of ICTs.
• Attitudes (motivation)- Everyone is encouraged to participate in the
sharing of benefits available from equal access to ICTs.
• Content- Sufficient content is available to enable everyone to gain
benefits from ICTs.
• Cultural- The other dimensions are adapted as required to the
cultures of all potential users.
• Disability- The other dimensions are adapted as required so that
disability is not a barrier to equal enjoyment of the benefits of ICTs.
• Linguistic- The other dimensions are adapted as required so
that language is not a barrier to equal enjoyment of the
benefits of ICTs.
• Gender- The other dimensions are adapted as required so
that gender is not a barrier to equal enjoyment of the
benefits of ICTs.
• Empowerment of civil society- Structural, political, and
governance factors do not impede equal enjoyment of the
benefits of ICTs.
Usability Divide: Empowerment
Economic Divide: Divide:
Far worse than the economic
divide is the fact that technology Participation
In its simplest
remains so complicated that inequality exists.
form, the digital
many people can’t even use a
divide is computer. In social networks
manifested in the and community
fact that some Almost 40% of the population systems 90% of
people can’t afford has lower literacy skills.
to buy a computer. contribute
Lower literacy is the Web’s sporadically, and a
biggest accessibility problem. tiny minority of 1%
accounts for most
How to Level the Digital Playing
• To reduce the impact of the digital divide there are several things to
• Have computer and Internet access: People need affordable and
reliable computers and broadband Internet access
• Be digitally literate: people need to understand digital
technologies and how to use them effectively to achieve their
educational, economic, civic, and social goals.
• Embrace digital society: People must see value to adopt a digital
lifestyle. The City is stronger, the more its residents take
advantage of computing and the vast sea of knowledge the
• Teacher Training- There needs to be a comprehensive,
organizational attempt at training teachers in order to
successfully use technology to improve student learning.
• Maintenance and Technology Support- Schools and districts
that have successfully integrated technology into their
teaching and learning processes must hire trained staff to
maintain their computers to allow teachers to focus on how
computers can be used in teaching and learning, enhancing
the existing curriculum, and preparing students for success in
the digital age.
• Curricular Integration- Helping teachers move beyond seeing
the Internet as a research library towards its dynamic and
integrative aspects is critically important.
• Looker, D. & Thiessen, V. (2003, June). The digital divide in Canadian schools:
Factors affecting student access to and use of information technology. Statistics
Canada. 81-597-XIE. Retrieved October 1, 2012 from
• Dickard, Norris; Schneider, Dianna. "The Digital Divide: Where We Are." Edutopia.
N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Oct. 2012. <http://www.edutopia.org/digital-divide-where-we-
• Bernard, Sara. "Crossing the Digital Divide: Bridges and Barriers to Digital
Inclusion." Edutopia. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Oct. 2012.
• Bolt, David. "Digital Divide: Next Steps for Schools." Edutopia. N.p., n.d. Web. 1
Oct. 2012. <http://www.edutopia.org/digital-divide-next-steps>.
• Roger Harris (2002): ICT for Poverty Alleviation Framework