The chapter addresses the digital divide and proposes three levels of division. The first level is access to hardware, software, and the Internet. The second level is access to achievement-enhancing technology mediated instruction. The third level of the divide is access to culture-sensitive technological pedagogy.
This chapter did not grab me as much as the introductory chapter. In spite of coming from an economically deprived area (Washington County) my parents always found the money for computers. We had an Apple when I was 3 but no TV until I was 12. Also, since starting my career as a teacher, I have worked in either a privately-funded school with lots of technology, or Maine public schools with the MLTI program in place. Whenever I have started a new position, my first question is about access to tools, and I have never been disappointed. I am very lucky.
The second divide is about limited access to achievement enhancing technology mediated instruction, and this does strike a chord with me. I believe many teachers today have no real idea of how to use the tools effectively. Often I find myself silently re-writing a lesson to use tech effectively. Anytime I see a paper survey I want to shout SURVEY MONKEY! I keep quiet, however, because I know that my own fluency comes from early engagement and interaction with effective technology. When I was 12 nd homeschooled my brother and I produced a newspaper using a desktop pubishing program. Oh, that little paper was cherished in our small town! And it was an effective teaching project for us.
The third divide pertains to culture sensitive technological pedagogy. This is a new concept for me to grasp. When I think of different cultures using technology my mind jumps to myriad Spanish-speaking friends from various countries who can text and make power points with facility. However, I do wonder about some programs like Glogster which uses words such as “emo” to describe a style. My kids in school could not believe this! “Emo” was seen as very negative to them.
So using technology is not as simple as, “Here is this tool, use it.” A hammer naturally lends itself to swinging and hammering but when a student is asked to created a database of known plants on a nature trail and MAP them, where to start? What if the student does not come from a family of naturalists? What if they have never heard of GPS? The divides make for “wicked problems” again which deserve customized solutions. I try. I try.