Futurity.org – Web access alone won’t bridge digital divide

April 12, 2010

This is something that most of us would assume, but here is the data to back it up.

Just providing access to the internet will not necessarily benefit students.  They must know how to use it.

The study surveyed freshmen from the University of Illinois to test their “internet know-how”.  Students from lower socio-economic backgrounds had considerably less skill in using the internet than those students that were “better off” economically.

I know that as a teacher I get frustrated with the capabilities of my students to use technology in an effective, research-based manner.  After all, they can use their I-Phones and I-Pods well enough.

But that only makes them efficient consumers of technology, not effective users.  So even though I assume that all of my students are digitally savvy does not make it so.

This is where Dan Pink’s right-brain aptitudes from A Whole New Mind become a necessity.  Students may be able to access the information, but can they find the relevant patterns?  Symphony.  Do they know how to look at a web page and understand the organization?  Design.  What about the slanted viewpoints of a blogger?  Empathy.

So I’m always glad to read articles like this one.  It reminds me that simply because a kid is born in the digital age does not mean he has the skills to thrive.

Futurity.org – Web access alone won’t bridge digital divide.


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