2012 saw penetration rates of internet usage within Asia and Africa significantly lower than the world average (Internet World Stats, 2012), and these regions are home to the world’s largest populations (WorldAtlas.com, 2011). The evidence of the digital divide has never been clearer. However alarming these figures seem, the digital divide is happening closer to home than you first think.
The reality that the digital divide is at once a localised issue and universal one raises major implications. Where is it happening and why? What causes it? How can it be alleviated (ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT, 2001, p. 1-35)? Tackling these questions such as the “what” can present simple answers such as, distance can cause the divide. How does one fix distance? Whole communities cannot simply be moved to a more convenient location for phone or internet reception. Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the One Laptop per Child Association (Linkedin, n.d), addresses distance and other issues (Ted Talks, 2008). Happily with government and community participation these problems are being overcome.
Philanthropic nonprofits, along with community donations continue to close the gap. Ongoing longer term reform is needed from governments worldwide. For those of us lucky enough not to be affected by a lack of Information and Communications Technology or (ICTs) we experience daily the social benefits technology provides. Policies covering low-cost technology in schools will build the future skills base and foundations needed, the journey is long the future powerful.
Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration & creativity (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.
In Ragnedda, M., & In Muschert, G. W. (2013). The digital divide: The internet and social inequality in international perspective (2nd ed.). London, UK: Routledge.
Bauerlein, M. (2011). The digital divide: Arguments for and against Facebook, Google, texting, and the age of social networking. New York, USA: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin.
Online Video resources
Web sites for further reading
Online Video resources
Internet World Stats (2012, June 30). World Internet Users Statistics Usage and World PopulationStats. Retrieved March 26, 2014, from http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm
Linkedin (n.d.). World’s Largest Professional Network | LinkedIn. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from http://www.linkedin.com/
ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT (2001). UNDERSTANDING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE (1). Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/internet/ieconomy/1888451.pdf
Ted Talks (2008, June 27). Nicholas Negroponte: One Laptop per Child, two years on [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_TKjfgjiQs
WorldAtlas.com (2011). Africa Map / Map of Africa – Facts, Geography, History of Africa – Worldatlas.com. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/af.htm