NOT	  FOR	  DISTRIBUTION	  The	  Digital	  Divide:	  Developed	  and	  Non	  Developing	  Countries.	  E	  Worrall	  “The	...
NOT	  FOR	  DISTRIBUTION	  on	  a	  very	  simple	  version	  of	  the	  Linux	  operating	  system	  called	  Sugar.	  	 ...
NOT	  FOR	  DISTRIBUTION	  	  References:	  	  	  Arnold,	  B.	  2010.	  Digital	  Divides	  in	  Australia,	  Caslon	  An...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

E Worrall

472 views

Published on

Published in: Education
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
472
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
6
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

E Worrall

  1. 1. NOT  FOR  DISTRIBUTION  The  Digital  Divide:  Developed  and  Non  Developing  Countries.  E  Worrall  “The  digital  divide  refers  to  inequalities  in  access  to  information  technology”  (Fallis,  2004,  p1).The  digital  divide  between  developed  and  developing  countries  is  often  becoming  an  increasing  issue  as  the  world  moves  faster  with  the  array  of  technology  that  is  available.  There  are  a  range  of  complex  problems  that  can  be  unique  or  wide  spread  across  many  countries  that  do  not  have  the  infrastructure  or  money  to  keep  up  with  the  advancements  of  others.      In  many  of  these  countries  clean  water  and  food  is  the  main  priority  on  a  long  list  of  issues  that  still  needs  to  be  solved.  This  raises  many  questions  to  the  importance  of  trying  to  immerse  developing  countries  in  technology  when  the  basic  needs  of  humanity  are  not  even  met.  In  a  recent  address  in  2010  by  Ban  Ki-­‐moon,  the  secretary  general  of  the  United  Nations  (UN),  to  the  International  Telecommunication  Union,  highlighted  the  importance  of  moving  forward  with  broadband.  “Experience  has  shown  that  greater  access  to  broadband  technologies  has  meant  faster  progress  towards  all  the  Millennium  Development  Goals.    The  Internet  drives  trade,  commerce  and  even  education”  (UN  Department  of  Public  Information,  2010,  para5).  It  must  be  noted  that  developed  countries  to,  have  their  own  digital  divide  issues  that  exists  between  parts  of  their  own  country  as  well.  In  2006,  Australia  only  had  54%  of  its  households  with  access  to  the  internet  (Arnold,  B.  2010,  para  3).  The  same  could  be  said  about  the  United  States  which  went  from  number  three  on  the  broadband  ladder  to  number  35  according  to  speedtest.net.  One  of  ways  of  solving  these  complex  issues  is  through  education  and  developing  students  to  be  21st  Century  citizens.      For  many  countries  the  introduction  of  technology  in  schools  is  not  about  providing  the  latest  technology  to  bring  countries  up  to  speed,  it  is  about  providing  students  with  the  education  that  they  need.  A  large  aspect  of  this  movement,  to  see  developing  schools  with  technology  is  based  on  the  constructivist  theory  made  popular  by  Piaget  and  other  theorists.  The  main  highlight  of  this  theory  is  that  children  learn  by  interacting  together  and  constructing  their  own  knowledge,  but  also  create  their  own  meaning  to  their  work  through  this  process  (Hein,  1991,  para2).  A  large  portion  of  this  learning  can  take  place  through  collaborative  projects  and  social  experiments.            One  of  the  biggest  issues  though  in  making  this  happen  is  the  supply  and  demand  of  these  educational  tools.  The  cost  of  production  and  then  implementation  of  technology  can  be  staggering  to  economies  that  have  trouble  on  the  global  scale.  A  large  amount  of  developing  countries  don’t  even  have  proper  access  to  the  internet,  they  don’t  have  the  infrastructure  of  LAN  lines  or  even  power  lines  that  developed  countries  have.  Yet  there  are  solutions  that  are  coming  present  today  to  help  combat  the  divide  between  technology  rich  and  poor  nations.  One  such  program  is  the  One  Laptop  Per  Child  (OLPC)  organisation.  Their  aim  is  to  develop  and  then  distribute  technology  to  developing  countries  that  is  cost  effective  and  durable.  The  XO,  produced  by  OLCP,  is  one  of  their  first  products  which  enables  students  to  work  collaboratively  in  the  classroom  without  needing  all  the  wires  to  connect  each  other  or  power.  The  laptops  run  
  2. 2. NOT  FOR  DISTRIBUTION  on  a  very  simple  version  of  the  Linux  operating  system  called  Sugar.    The  laptop  itself  can  connect  through  wireless  connections  imbedded  in  the  device,  meaning  that  students  can  work  on  projects  together  in  the  classroom.  They  can  be  charged  through  solar  devices  that  cost  around  thirteen  dollars.  The  laptop  itself  costs  around  150  dollars,  which  makes  it  an  effective  cost  solution  to  providing  children  with  education.    One  of  the  biggest  benefits  of  the  introduction  of  technology  in  these  classrooms  is  that  it  encourages  students  to  come  to  school  more  often  and  to  be  inspired  and  engaged  when  they  are  there.  Through  this,  students  have  a  greater  understanding  of  the  world  around  them  and  how  they  can  help  solve  some  of  the  issues  that  are  present  in  their  countries.  It  provides  students  with  a  greater  access  to  education  where  in  many  cases  it  can  be  hard  to  even  find  a  paper  and  pencil  to  write  with.  The  introduction  of  these  laptops  means  that  text  books  and  reading  books  can  be  downloaded  and  viewed  on  the  device.  It  removes  the  need  to  print  a  vast  range  of  books  and  reduces  the  cost  of  education  overall.      A  question  that  is  raised  out  of  these  issues  is  the  importance  to  children  already  in  developed  countries  and  why  teachers  should  be  concerned  about  these  problems.    One  aspect  is  that  it  highlights  the  importance  of  technology  in  today’s  educational  system  and  the  benefits  that  it  can  provide  the  students.  It  also  highlights  why  the  technology  is  there  in  the  classroom.  That  it  is  not  just  there  as  gimmick  and  to  provide  some  sort  of  entertainment,  but  the  technology  is  there  to  help  facilitate  the  learning  in  the  environment.      My  imovie  that  I  created  hopefully  will  inspire  people  to  look  a  lot  deeper  to  the  problem  of  the  digital  divide  and  how  they  can  get  involved.  There  are  a  vast  array  of  issues  and  it’s  not  a  simple  solution  of  just  providing  infrastructure  to  developing  nations.  There  are  political,  social  and  economic  aspects  that  all  play  a  part  in  the  gap  of  technology  between  rich  and  poor  nations.  Perhaps  the  solution  could  be  as  simple  as  developed  countries  recycling  some  of  technology  that  gets  thrown  out  every  2  years  when  the  next  new  and  exciting  update  comes  along,  however  developed  nations  have  their  own  set  of  problems  that  occur  in  their  own  areas.  Although  this  rational  only  provides  two  solutions  to  an  ever  increasing  problem,  there  are  many  organizations  along  with  the  help  of  the  UN  that  are  making  progress  to  combat  the  digital  divide.                            
  3. 3. NOT  FOR  DISTRIBUTION    References:      Arnold,  B.  2010.  Digital  Divides  in  Australia,  Caslon  Analytics,  accessed  online  24th  Feb  2011,  http://www.caslon.com.au/dividesprofile6.htm    Department  of  Public  Information  News  and  Media  Division,  United  Nations.  2011  ‘Digital  Divide  ‘Far  from  Disappeared’,  accessed  online  24th  Feb.  2011,    http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/sgsm13158.doc.htm      Fallis,  d.  2004.  Social  Epistemology  and  the  Digital  Divide,  School  of  Information  Resources  University  of  Arizona,  accessed  online  24th  of  Feb.  2011,  http://www.acs.org.au/documents/public/crpit/CRPITV37Fallis.pdf      Hein,  G.  1991.  Constructivist  Learning  Theory,  Institute  for  Inquiry,  accessed  online  24th  Feb  2011,  http://www.exploratorium.edu/IFI/resources/constructivistlearning.html  One  Laptop  Per  Child  (OLPC)  ,  accessed  online  24th  Feb  2011,  www.laptop.org                        

×