What Are The Long-term Effects of the Digital Divide?

Yesterday, I wrote on finding a balance between digital and traditional teaching. There were also two articles I came across touching on the same subject, one debating whether handwriting is still a necessary skill to teach in the 21st century classroom, and the other debating whether blogging should replace writing a formal research paper.

Both articles, along with my blog yesterday, came to the same conclusion: Yes, digital skills should be taught in the classroom, but they should be balanced with traditional learning that students will also need in school, life, and career. One literacy teacher in the article “Summit to Make a Case for Teaching Handwriting” articulated it well: “We don’t live in a handwriting world, and we don’t live in a digital world. We live in a hybrid world.”

These two articles show a demographic of students who have an abundant access to technology, so much so, that the fear is they are overexposed to it. However, there is another side to the blended-learning debate. In a recent article by The Hechinger Report, we get a look inside The Bronzeville Scholastic Institute in Chicago. The nearly 1,000 students on campus must share 24 computers in the homework lab. Many students don’t have computers at home, and most aren’t able to spend enough time at a school computer to master basic skills, like setting margins in a Word document or saving files to a flash drive, say teachers.

It is said the digital divide that exists in Chicago schools probably looks a lot like the digital divide across the country. Chicago Public Schools spent nearly $40 million in a year on technology, but some Chicago students saw digital programs grow in their schools, and others remained in outdated infrastructures.

Many urban schools are in the spotlight of the digital divide, but rural students have the same demands for a blended education and face some of the same funding obstacles.

How do we get technology in the hands of rural and urban students so they are prepared for the changing world?

What are the effects on the workforce of students graduating without computational skills? Without core skills?

How long before our blended world becomes more digital than “traditional”?


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