STRAND 1: Social/ethical significance > 1.6 Digital divide and equality of access

Follow the Blog: Centre Informatique de Kuma (Narrowing the digital divide in Togo)

One Laptop Per Child -
OLPC news -

Digital Divide - If access to IT is not available to all in society then there are issues of equity.

  • pay for direct access to the technology e.g. pay for Internet access or a laptop computer or a mobile phone.
  • pay for indirect access to the technology e.g. medical treatment that utilises computer technology.
  • learn how to use or with the technology e.g. availability to gain an education that either teachers us how to use a computer system or access to an education system that uses technology
  • get easy access to the technology e.g. does my geographic area have the infra-structure to enable me to access the Internet or am I restricted because I have some form of disability.

What is critical to our consideration of the digit divide is that restrictions are not related to anything that the individual specifically does. For example, a child who lives in a particular part of the world whose school does not have Internet access is not in a position to choose otherwise. There are also cultural and political dimension that can restrict access to technology.

The following links provide a starting point. There 3 to 5 'Only ' links, one of which is a general introduction provided by wikipedia. These are followed by a couple of videos to provide visual stimulation as starting points for discussion. Following the videos is a list of some statistical sites which students can access to investigate analytically what kinds of differences may exist and what trends in access and usage are developing. Finally there is a section which prompts students to consider what actions have been taken to address the digital divide, how successful these have been and what might be done in the future.


'Only the Best' Links


General Outline of Concepts WIKIPEDIA
Outline of the basic information on digital divide

Detailed Resource List
Very detailed resource list and outline of the issue.

India and Digital Divide
Example of one countries analysis of the Digital Divide Issue

IBM's approach to providing accessibility

'Only the Best' Videos and Podcasts

TEDxSanMigueldeAllende - Aleph Molinari - Bridging the Digital Divide

Digital Divide in the USA - a simple video that outlines the basic issues

Sample lesson based on the video

"America Offline:" Stories from the Digital Divide - The most amazing home videos are here

Issues of overcoming digital divide issues in India and Brazil

India and Brazil

"Nicholas Negroponte wants to give laptop computers to children in

third-world countries so they can communicate with the rest of the world." (05:21)

"The Success of the One Laptop Per Child..." (07.01)

Challenge Poverty (with Youtube & Save the Children)

Statistical Data on Digital Divide

The following site can be explored by students to investigate trends in terms of broad Internet usage between regions and countries.
The first link provides general wordwide Internet usage statistics and the second a more detail treatment. Both links provide up todate data.

World Internet Statistics
More detailed statistics

To gain some level of comparison over time this link considers data from earlier in the decade: Earlier Data

Questions on countering the digital divide

  • If you compare Internet usage over the past 10 years what can you see?
  • Is the broad access to the Internet becoming more inclusive?
  • Taking your own country what government policies have been implemented to address the digital divide?
  • Have these been useful, if not why not and what would you recommend?

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