Digital Disparities Facing Lower-Income Teenagers

Description:  Teenagers in lower-income households have fewer desktop, laptop and tablet computers to use at home than their higher-income peers, according to a new study.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Nov 3, 2015

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One-fifth of teenagers in lower-income households reported that they never used computers for their homework — or used them less than once a month. And one-tenth of lower-income teenagers said they had only dial-up web access, an often slow and erratic Internet connection, at home. None of the higher-income youths said they had only dial-up access, according to the report.     Read Rest of Story 

 Questions for discussion:

  1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem?       Why?
  2. What is the solution to the digital divide?       Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?
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46 thoughts on “Digital Disparities Facing Lower-Income Teenagers

  1. Shuhra

    What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?
    The idea of the “digital divide” stems from people who don’t have the luxury of accessing technology or the web due to their socioeconomics. It divides the wealthy and middle-class with those who don’t have the means to unlimited technology. This is a huge problem because technology is constantly advancing and it would pose a problem in the long run if there is an unbalances computer literacy amongst society. Almost every job relies on technology somehow, and most employees seek candidates who have digital knowledge. If you lack this requirement you would find it hard to be employed which then add more to the unbalanced wealth that already exists.
    What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?
    I think the first and most effective solution is to educate people, this will get them to change their attitude about it. Teachers should recognize the digital divide and work around it for students with low income families.The government can be involved to provide funding if the resources are not there, for example schools should be able to let students access technology outside of class for people that need it.

    Reply
  2. Jenny Rowell

    The digital divide is the divide between teenagers who have access to most technology, compared to teenagers who have limited access or none. This digital divide not only affects a teenager’s personal life but affects their education as well and on a bigger scale. Being a college student, you just assume everyone has a laptop by this age. You always see people on them wherever you are for the convenience and ability to not need a central base for a computer to be. This point seems to bring up the idea of the “digital inequality” which unpacks the harsh world of not being able to afford something so popular and commonly used. Not only would a laptop continue to help you in school, but as well as many forms of social media, photography, organizational skills, entertainment in games and apps. I believe it is important for every family no matter what their income, have access to a laptop to work on no price ceiling. As a student especially, you should be given all the tools possible to receive a good education to enhance your work potential in the future. Having that access could differentiate you as a candidate being interviewed by a company who works on the latest version of MAC when you only know how to work a PC. Another example, the best solution for student completing their homework on time would be through offering them different ways and techniques to do so since everyone has different learning styles. The government should not be involved in this, because as hard as this sounds, not everyone can have the basic “necessities” in the 21st century today. The problem is there, but we can take many steps and precautions to minimize the effect and cost of making this become true. So yes, Government would be involved.

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  3. Cecile

    Digital divide is a term that refers to the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology, and those that don’t or have restricted access. This technology can include the telephone, television, personal computers and the Internet. I believe digital divide will not become a problem as long as teenagers know the balance between spending time on the Internet and social life. Nowadays, laptops and technology are necessary in our daily and for students, adults and even elderlies; Internet is an important platform that connects people around the world, especially for families that live in different countries.
    The solution for digital divide is to use them properly and avoid abusing the use of Internet committing in illegal acts. In my opinion, government should definitely have a set of laws dealing with cyber crime and hackers against one’s privacy and human rights. To an extend, I think we are all responsible for anything we did or said online and digital divide should not be an act to go against human rights and freedom.

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  4. Neve

    The digital divide is the economic gap between the high-income and low-income families. Most people don’t even realize that there are people in America that still don’t have access to it because it is something that is not economically feasible for everyone. This is a problem for people in high school and below under the age of 18 because they aren’t in control of whether they have or can afford these technologies that have become necessary when it comes to school. Teachers have begun to accept technology more and now even require it for certain things that some students don’t really have the unlimited access to as they think they do.
    The solution for this problem is very controversial because the internet is very elusive. No one owns it. How does everyone gain access to the internet with the it still being a feasible idea, where would the government find the funding for it given that some people cannot afford it and not every country it in favor of things being socialized. America has a mentality of “every man for themselves”; would they be in favor of having the government spending their hard earned money on others getting access to the internet; therefore, creating more creating more competition.

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  5. Dawn Wilson

    The digital divide is the technological differences between the haves and have nots. There are those individuals who cannot afford certain technologies that others take for granted. It is a problem because more and more things are based on the internet or are being done online with technology that some people do not have. For instance online textbooks, in some ways they are cheaper and more convenient because you do not have to carry them around with you and can’t spill anything on them; however, not everyone can afford a laptop or computer to read the textbook as well they may not have internet or it may be slow and inconsistent. This gives those with the resources to afford technology an advantage over those that cannot. Furthermore, with some of the students doing their homework on their phone because they are unable to afford a computer just means that it will take them longer and may discourage some because it might seem more difficult and annoying.
    I do not believe that there is only one solution to the digital divide, I think that if everyone did small things it would truly make a difference. Such as the government helping to subsidize and people recycling or donating their old used computers and devices.

    Reply
  6. Kathy Cayenne

    I think that the digital differences facing students is an extension of ongoing problem of government and society seeing education as a cost on a budget line, rather and investment that pays for itself and then some in the future. A strong, equally funded K-12 system benefits all of society in so many ways. Several jurisdictions across North America have taken a “no child left behind” attitude toward funding education. The problem with this plan is that it ties school funding to standardized test scores and not to equalling access to the same education opportunities for the have-nots. It actually works to increase the disadvantages by reducing funding for those schools whose test scores are low without assessing why the scores are low. Limited access to the internet and information could be a reason for low test scores and a reduction of funding will not increase student access to information. Less funding provides less computers in a school that could be the only access to information a student has. This is not a new problem it is just an extension of a continued problem. While governments continue to cut funding to K-12 education, school boards have looked to parents to fund more school activities like field trips. Consider a field trip to Frank’s slide for a fourth grader, it is an opportunity to learn hands on and interactively about history and geology. Parents are asked to fundraise to cover the costs of this field trip. Fundraising for the fieldtrip for the students that live in a more affluent neighborhood will be considerably easier those that live in a less affluent neighborhood. Which keeps the disadvantage, well, disadvantaged. The solution is that we as a society need to accept that it is in all of our best interests to insure that every child regardless of region, economic status or culture has the same educational opportunities and in the digital world this means reliable access to the internet in addition to other learning opportunities. It also, means that we will have to fund it as society. However, funding is not enough to eliminate disadvantages in education we also need to make sure that funding is being used appropriately to eliminate the divide.

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    1. Yvette Gahutu

      the socioeconomic and other disparities between those people who have opportunities and skills enabling them to benefit from digital resources, especially the Internet, and those who do not have these opportunities or skills:
      programs that help to bridge the digital divide between rich and poor countries. it is a problem in the sense that it divides people technologically everyone should have equal opportunities. The divide might not be intentionally because most companies selling all these technological devices are out to make profits and don’t tend to really look at the effects it has on children. there are pros and cons for children that grow up with all these technological devices just as much as there are pros and cons for children who do not own these smart devices and or hardly use them. I personally thing children that grow up without smart phones and laptops are able to socialize more without any technology interruptions. Meanwhile children with smart devices have the advantage of accessing information much faster than children without smart devices. A solution to this digital divide among teenagers is to allow students to rent or have their own computer through the school and If the government can provide funding to lower income families specifically for technology and access to internet, low-income students would no longer be put at a disadvantage.

      Reply
  7. Adrien

    What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?

    The digital divide in western societies refers to the inequality of access to new technologies between poor and rich households. As a matter of fact it seems that teenagers born in poorer families have fewer laptop, tablets etc. than their richer counterparts. This digital divide could be really damaging to the education of unfavored kids since more and more institutions rely on technology as part of their teaching material. It is therefore likely to further dig the educational gap that exists between rich and poor families.

    What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?

    It is trivial to say that such a complex problem cannot be solved by a single solution. The author mentions that the Federal Communication Commissions is currently « exploring the idea of subsidizing broadband access for low-income households ». The government could also offer 0% interest loan to help families finance the acquisition of a computer or even subsidize the purchase completely as the cost of hardware has gone down dramatically in the last few years.

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  8. Jordan Gunderson

    The digital divide refers to the gap between those people (in this article we are talking about students specifically) who have access to technology and those who don’t. It is usually due to the social position a person is in and depends on their ability to afford electronic devices such as computers, phones, and internet access. It is becoming a problem more and more because of how fast technology is advancing and being used in every aspect of life.
    I have taken several courses in the University where all the homework had to be done on a computer and submitted online. While the websites and applications used to do the homework in my classes were accessible in the library, it was only on certain computers and therefore, limited.
    The digital divide presents a problem because it gives an advantage to those who can afford to buy the advantage. In a school setting, all students should be assessed fairly for their learning. If one receives a worse grade because they couldn’t afford to buy an additional technological asset in the class, they are being punished unfairly.
    A solution to this would be to present affordable options for students depending on their level of education. In elementary through high school, I think any devices needed for homework/assignments should be provided or else ample time to use the school’s equipment outside of class time should be provided.
    At a university level, an affordable rental program could be put in place. It allows students to take a laptop home as they need as long as it is returned in good condition. In addition, 24-hour access to university computers that ALL have the necessary software/access to school assignments is also necessary.

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  9. Patrick L

    1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?
    The digital divide is the point which divides the people who have access to technology from those who do not. The digital divide is a huge problem, however many people don’t think of it. In North America a teenager having a laptop and doing their schoolwork is considered normal. Studies show that those who do have access to personal laptops or computers finish their schoolwork easier than those who do not. This can cause a problem when teachers assume that all students have access to the internet and computers when they assign online assignments and homework. The way to solve this problem is to have two ways of submitting assignments/doing homework: on paper and on-line.
    2. What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?
    In a Utopian society a thing like digital divide doesn’t exist. In the real world it exists and is a problem. Can we do anything about it? The only solution I see is teachers giving the students more options of completing their homework. The government should not be involved in this, because as hard as this sounds, not everyone can have the basic “necessities” in this day and age. The problem is there, but we can take many steps and precautions to minimize it and flatten the world even more.

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  10. Kevin Liu

    1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?
    Digital divide is the gap between those who can afford modern world’s technology access such as Internet and those who cannot afford. With out a doubt digital is a big problem. Because it is not fair for those who cannot afford the access to these technologies, especially for students, many of the education institute require students to have some sort of access to the digital world and internet; but for many students it is hard enough to come up with the money for every thing else.

    2. What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?
    The solution to the digital divide can be set up public access at place like public library for school. To solve the digital divide problem government must be involved, because only government have the power and financial resource to set up this kind of movement, also government can set up some policy for students or families to help them pay for their computer. For example, every first computer a family or a student buy government can pay for most of it in a certain price range, so they have the basic access for internet.

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  11. Annalee

    1) The digital divide is the divide between teenagers who have access to most technology, compared to teenagers who have limited access or none. This digital divide not only affects a teenagers personal life but affects their education as well and on a bigger scale. They are finding that teenagers who do have their own computer are able to finish school work with ease, but teenagers who do not have their own computer have difficulties. The digital divide is an issue because having your own computer can be extremely useful to a student. In school, several students have to write papers or research, this becomes easier to accomplish when you have your own computer at hand. For some students, if they do not have access to a computer of their own, they resort to using their smartphones instead. Smartphones are useful, but are not designed to complete papers or do massive research with. This is where having ones own computer becomes a useful tool in excelling in school.

    2) A solution to this digital divide among teenagers is to allow students to rent or have their own computer through the school. Our world is extremely technology based and students who cannot afford a laptop should not be penalized for having low access to finish their work. The government should set aside a small amount of money to give schools a chance to distribute laptops to students who need it the most. Another alternative could include that schools have more laptops that students could use in the classroom in order to finish work such as, papers or research assignments.

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  12. Robyn

    The digital divide is the gap between those with access to technology and those without. I would even broaden this to say there is a digital divide among different levels of technology available between people. Some have many different types of smart devices such as computers, phones, tablets and TV’s. While others may only have one device, and possibly an inefficient source for it. I do think that this is a problem. Especially in today’s world. Almost everything seems to be accessed online now. And people assume that you will be able to access the content. It seems to be more common in our society that everyone has access to the technology and have the ability to use it in their daily lives. Since there is this assumption it makes it very difficult and unfair for those who do not have this easy access. Particularly when it comes to teens. Many of them do not have the ability to buy a laptop or anything for themselves, so this responsibility falls on the parent. And if they come from a lower income house and the parent cannot provide this for the child, they are forced to go without. I don’t think this is just, and I do believe that in cases like this the government should give subsidies to provide them with the technology necessary to be able to, at the minimum, do their homework.

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  13. Miriam Ott

    1. The digital divide is the gap between those who have personal access to technology and those who don’t, which is commonly related to family income. This divide can become an issue when the expectation of technology use at home can put a student at a disadvantage when preparing homework assignments. Recently, there is a growing expectation made my teachers that students have access to technology at home to practice course work or complete homework assignments. This is a problem when lower income families cannot afford this technology that students are expected to have, which puts them at a severe disadvantage.
    2. If it is to be expected that a student will need to complete a homework assignment with the use of technology, it is the school’s responsibility to provide the student with a computer and access to the internet in order to accomplish this. If the government can provide funding to lower income families specifically for technology and access to internet, low-income students would no longer be put at a disadvantage. If nothing else, students should at least be offered the opportunity to complete the homework assignment without the requirement of the internet or a computer.

    Reply
  14. Jordie Prestie

    1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?

    The digital divide is a problem that plagues those of lower socio-economic status around the world. The divide refers to the gap between those that have access to modern technologies and those who do not. The divide is a problem because technology is increasingly more important for the development of a teenager. From school to social life, a student without access to technology is a student left behind. As stated in the article, “The reason that we need to be concerned about disparities here is that technology and media are now part and parcel of growing up in America.” Therefore, the digital divide is a huge problem because it disadvantages kids who do not have a “rich mommy and daddy.”

    2. What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?
    In order to solve the digital divide, the solution must be built as a joint effort between public and private sectors. First off, the government should be involved in the shortening of the digital divide. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure each child has a high quality education and social development, regardless of their parent’s socio-economic status. Furthermore, if a government does not invest in the proper development of a child’s education, then farther down the line the government will need to invest in paying for said person’s unemployment insurance, tax cuts, and social programs when they cannot find a job because of their lack of technical skills. Secondly, the private sector must also play a role in solving this problem. For example, offering software discounts to students and those of low income families would make it easier for students to have access to the digital world.

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  15. Ella

    What is a digital divide, is it a problem? Why?
    The digital divide is a gap which differentiate individuals who have access to technology and those who do not had access. This case occurs in situations like, where some of us have a laptop and some of us do not cause we cannot afford it. Some how this is a problem and some how it is not a problem because if you check all around the world everyone has a cell phone, kids also have phones even when a parent cannot afford a laptop or computer for their child or teenager they still provide a phone for them. Cases where this problem occurs is like in high school now, some teenagers in high school have their own personal laptop and some do not because it’s either their parents do not want to get one for them or cases where the parent cannot afford one for their child because of the economy.

    A solution to digital divide could be if the government can improve in the economy so some parents can make income and get to provide for their kids, it doesn’t matter how much the laptop cost but as long as they can provide for their child. Sometimes the government can also go to schools that also cannot provide equipments for their students and help in giving at least.

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  16. Juan

    1) What is the digital divide? Why is it a problem?
    The digital divide refers to the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology, and those that don’t or have restricted access. This is a problem because the world today is extremely dependent on technology and in order to succeed in the modern day, one must know how to use technology. Those most affected by this problem come are individuals from low income families, who tend to be minority groups.
    Access to technology, such as computers/laptops, provides a massive opportunity to those from low income families. The groups that make up this demographic have been traditionally oppressed making moving up in socio-economic status very difficult. Technology presents the possibility of leveling the playing field and giving those talented and hardworking individuals the ability to move up in the world, as opposed to being suppressed by the system.

    2.) What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?
    Obviously the solution to the digital divide would be to ensure that everyone has access to technology. How you go about doing that is the problem. I do firmly believe that it should be the government’s responsibility to eliminate the digital divide. They could provide subsidies and incentives to telecommunication companies to provide fast and reliable internet access to everyone in the country. They could pass laws to stop telecommunication companies from price gouging consumers, to ensure that access to the internet is affordable to everyone. Basic household income would help eliminate poverty and make it possible for those low income households to afford the technology. There is no one simple solution to this problem, but the government should take steps in solving it.

    Reply
  17. Roezain L

    1. What is the digital divide, and is it a problem? Why?

    The digital divide is the gap between people who have access to technology (such as computers, high-speed internet, smartphones, etc) and people who do not. This is comparing the privileged and the non-privileged. There is a very obvious digital divide between students that own a computer/laptop and those who need to go to the library to use a computer/laptop. I think that the digital divide is a problem because we have started relying more and more on digital technology when it comes to academics; this includes online slides, pre-recorded lectures, online quizzes and exams, podcasts/webcasts, online textbooks and projects that absolutely require access to a computer. Our reliance is a problem because it gives a disadvantage to students who can’t afford to buy their own, and have to resort to taking a chance and seeing if there are any laptops for rent at the library, or if any of the computers are free to use. This also prevents them from doing work or studying in their own home due to the need to travel to the university or the library in order to complete these tasks.

    2. What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government involved in the solution? Why or why not?

    I think that the government could be involved in implementing a solution, but I am not sure if it is a should or should not situation. If you do not have access to computers, internet, or a phone it is hard to keep up with not only academics but it also affects work environments (online applications, applying to university using SIAMS, online/telephone booking, online trainings, etc). I do not know what kind of solution the government could implement to solve the problem of the digital divide, as if they provide laptops to every student, taxes would go up and those privileged will feel ‘robbed’. The problem is not getting any smaller and the gap is just getting worse.

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  18. Meghan

    The digital divide is the gap that exists between those who have access to technology and those who don’t. Although the prices of smartphones and laptops are decreasing, they are still a significant expenditure. The article discusses the digital divide in teens in the USA and how it may be affecting their performance at school as well as their future potential. When I was in high school almost no one had their own laptop but high schools are using technology more and more in teaching methods that it is becoming more of a requirement. The students who can’t afford or do not have access to this technology can potentially fall behind in class and be limited to what they can learn. I think that at a high school level, having a laptop should not be a requirement. As a University student a laptop most certainly is needed but we have access to government funding to help out with all the costs that come along with being a student. If high schools are going to start using teaching methods that require lots of online homework I believe there should be some program that laptops can be provided through schools. It is not fair for a teenager to limited because of something he or she can’t control, their parents income. I believe in the future laptops probably will be subsidized by the government and provided through schools at quite a young age.

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  19. Mojtaba F

    What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?
    Digital divide is simply the gap that exists between people with and without access to technological devices such as laptops, smartphones, computers, etc. Prior to reading the article, I always thought of the digital divide as a problem that exists in poorer countries in places like Africa and South America. However, the article made a good point, stating that even developed countries such as the United States, the digital divide can prove as a disadvantage for lower-income families, who cannot afford the still relatively high prices of Laptops and smartphones. Of course, as the article suggests, this leaves teens in lower-income families at a severe disadvantage for completing school work, or even staying up to date with current events and using the various advantages that technology and the internet provide.
    I believe that the most feasible solution to lowering the disparity caused by the digital divide is to simply wait. As time goes on, technology will continue to advance, causing earlier editions of phones, laptops, etc. to significantly decrease in price. After this, it will be much more affordable to create various programs to distribute internet-enabled devices to less-fortunate members of society.

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  20. Nigel Vandewal

    #1: The definition of digital divide is a simple one, stated by Dictionary.com is it “the socioeconomic and other disparities between those people who have opportunities and skills enabling them to benefit from digital resources, especially the Internet, and those who do not have these opportunities or skills”. In other words the rich have an advantage over the poor. In a school system that feels that everyone has an equal learning and opportunity chance of success, this is not so. As technology advances day by day, so does the digital divide between wealthy students and non-wealthy students. Therefore giving wealthy students an unfair advantage when writing papers, conducting research, and communication between student and teacher relationships. As teaching styles change as well it is furthering the advantage of wealthy students. As teachers rely more heavily on technology by using webcasts, power point slides, and online quizzes and test, those that cannot afford a personal computer or even quality internet are being neglected which causes a big problem for our society. Why would this be a problem when there are many ways to adapt? Time, is the underlining problem. Someone with out a computer or quality internet must use more time to collect information from a library, or look it up in a textbook (if they have one and not an e-reader), and the travel from your home to other locations.

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  21. Jaelee K

    1. According to our previous definition of the digital divide, it refers to the gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology and those with very limited or no access at all. This article clearly states a problem with the digital divide and the growth of such a divide as time passes. This problem is that it is not only affecting the way that younger generations spend their time, but it is also affecting both educational and social aspects of their lives. As Dr. Wartella said, “They [today’s youth] aren’t able to participate in the way that more wealthy teens and tweens are able to.” Since there is a growing trend towards increasing the amount of technology in classrooms, it can only be assumed that with this comes more online interactivity as well as online assignments and homework. As the article points out, the issue with this is that not every student and especially those with lower income homes have access to the proper technology needed.
    2. Solving the digital divide will take a continuous global effort that I am not so sure will happen in the near future. As consumers in the marketplace of constantly updated technology, it is hard to say that we will be able to catch everyone up to date on the current uses. With that said, cheaper basic model laptops that have longer life cycles may be the answer to this. Although they will probably never be up to date with the newest technology and or software, these may be enough to bridge the gap by allowing everyone to access the Internet. Another issue with the growth of technology in North America at least, is that there are always consumers that are willing to pay high prices for the latest technology, making it difficult to bridge the gap. I believe that publically accessed computers can also help bridge the digital divide if those without proper technology make use of them. The government should be involved in helping bridge the gap as well. Without help from the government, it is likely that the gap will continue to grow larger due to the differences in the spending habits of wealthier citizens versus those that have lower income and the everlasting updates in technology.

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  22. Holly

    1) What is the digital divide, and is it a problem? Why?
    The digital divide is the gap in demographic or regions that have access to modern technology and those who do not have access. This particular article was related to the discrepancy in teens between higher-income households and lower-income households. I think the digital divide is definitely a problem. The disparities as the article mentions influence how teens socialize, entertain themselves, and how they apply for college which are all crucial elements of a persons upbringing.
    2) What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?
    I think the government should have some involvement to tighten the gap of the digital divide. My high school was one of the first in Alberta to take part in the One to One program requiring each student to have a laptop starting in grade 10. My classes started to only offer online textbooks and lecture slides. Technology is an important part of our education system and for kids who cannot afford a laptop; this may set their education back. Because most things are done online now (applying for jobs or university, booking appointments) if you could not do these activities it may set you behind your peers. Many of my universities classes require weekly online assignments and quizzes. These assignments may be challenging to complete if a student didn’t have access to a laptop; it may cause a student to fall behind their work.

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  23. Jacklyn

    1. What is the digital divide, and is it a problem? Why?

    The digital divide is the separation of people who have access to computers, smart phones, and high-speed Internet with those who do not. We see this as a big problem amongst young teenagers. This is a problem because as technology becomes an increasingly needed thing in the world, it inhibits those without access from possibly achieving and getting as far as those with it. Technology has become such a norm rather than a luxury that those without access are not able to participate in activities in school and personal life as those teens from wealthier families.

    2. What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?

    I don’t know that there is a clear solution to this problem. I think it’s a problem now and will continue to be one as our society moves further along with new technologies and a heavy reliance on them. Technology is so quickly changing, and along with that rapid development the price is going up. I think that the government should help find a solution because they have the most control. Providing a scholarship or bursary specifically for technology for students unable to provide these means for themselves, could go a long way I believe. High schools and Universities are becoming more computer and technology based.

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  24. Jared Hubbard

    The Digital Divide refers to the “gap” between the amount of technology available to those in low-income situations and the amount of technology available to those in high-income situations. I definitely think it poses a problem, especially in developing countries where implementing simple technology would improve so many aspects of the people’s lives there. Additionally, the new push for interactive learning materials in schools makes owning a computer and or smartphone a necessity. Having a basic knowledge of technology is also an important part of being employable in today’s workplace, which relies heavily on IT and communications technology.

    Is there a solution? Yes. Should Government be involved? Maybe a little bit, but no. When the Government attempts to interfere in the free markets, it creates unintended consequences that–9 times out of 10–damage the economy and result in inefficient outcomes at the highest possible cost. Since demand for technology is so high, ever changing development will continually reduce the cost. Even now, products like the Raspberry Pi (which sells for about $100) are being developed in order to cater to low-income markets. Many private-sector companies also donate technology to people in low-income demographics. It is possible to have affordable, high quality technology. My laptop only cost $200, for example.

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  25. Jordyn Becker

    1) The digital divide refers to the gap between individuals who have instant access to technology and those that don’t. The article the digital divide was between teenagers computer access coming from higher income houses compared to teenagers computer access from lower income houses. Society and the world in general is becoming more reliable on technology and everything is technology, which can create problems for some people. Problems especially for those who can’t afford all that technology or computers because if your professor says email me this, or hand it on here, etc.. you can’t if you don’t have that access. Most schools have computers that students can use but it is much less convenient and when it isn’t your own, its hard to have access to everything and people use computers for things such as pictures as well not just work. This situation gives low income or people who don’t have access a major disadvantage.

    2) For a solution to this I think the government should sponsor or fund schools for computers and printers and general technology access and so forth. Not being able to have access at home can be hard for some people which means being at school after class, you may not have time throughout the day to do it at school, etc.. So if the government supplies it to students who don’t have computer access or the money for it, it would be beneficial for many people.

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  26. Wheaton King

    1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?
    The Digital Divide, or the digital split, is a social issue referring to the differing amount of information between those who have access to the Internet (specially broadband access) and those who do not have access. There is a big problem with regards to the digital divide in the world, as it limits children’s learning potential if they do not have access to computer systems. Everything now a days is related to technology, from searching information, learning different skills on computers to become more efficient, and even in classrooms (MS powerpoint). These different computer related activities enhance what I believe is the most optimal learning experience. Without computers, children are limited to only what they get told, and will not be able to search around the web for information themselves.
    2. What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?
    In todays day and age, I believe is there no solution to fix the digital divide. The world’s countires today are so diverse, that we have one country, for example Japan, having technology so advanced that us normal people can’t even imagine what they have. Meanwhile, in neighbouring rural Thailand, people struggle to live past 30. In conclusion, the digital divide is so far right now that if we were to try to fix it, the governments of all the countries around the world would have to work together to help end the digital divide.

    Reply
  27. Wheaton King

    1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?
    The Digital Divide, or the digital split, is a social issue referring to the differing amount of information between those who have access to the Internet (specially broadband access) and those who do not have access. There is a big problem with regards to the digital divide in the world, as it limits children’s learning potential if they do not have access to computer systems. Everything now a days is related to technology, from searching information, learning different skills on computers to become more efficient, and even in classrooms (MS powerpoint). These different computer related activities enhance what I believe is the most optimal learning experience. Without computers, children are limited to only what they get told, and will not be able to search around the web for information themselves.
    2. What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?
    In todays day and age, I believe is there no solution to fix the digital divide. The world’s countires today are so diverse, that we have one country, for example Japan, having technology so advanced that us normal people can’t even imagine what they have. Meanwhile, in neighbouring rural Thailand, people struggle to live past 30. In conclusion, the digital divide is so far right now that if we were to try to fix it, the governments of all the countries around the world would have to work together to help end the digital divide.

    Reply
    1. Wheaton King

      1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?
      The Digital Divide, or the digital split, is a social issue referring to the differing amount of information between those who have access to the Internet (specially broadband access) and those who do not have access. There is a big problem with regards to the digital divide in the world, as it limits children’s learning potential if they do not have access to computer systems. Everything now a days is related to technology, from searching information, learning different skills on computers to become more efficient, and even in classrooms (MS powerpoint). These different computer related activities enhance what I believe is the most optimal learning experience. Without computers, children are limited to only what they get told, and will not be able to search around the web for information themselves.
      2. What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?
      In todays day and age, I believe is there no solution to fix the digital divide. The world’s countires today are so diverse, that we have one country, for example Japan, having technology so advanced that us normal people can’t even imagine what they have. Meanwhile, in neighbouring rural Thailand, people struggle to live past 30. In conclusion, the digital divide is so far right now that if we were to try to fix it, the governments of all the countries around the world would have to work together to help end the digital divide.

      Reply
  28. Ryland Hatton

    1) Digital divide is the bridge in the gap between those that have technology available to them and those that cannot afford the technology. Commonly seen between those in developing world where technology is harder to get access to in comparison to say Canada or the US. As in this article though it is the difference between high income families and lower income families. The problem is technology is becoming more advanced and thus more difficult for those not having access to understand and get the monetary means to purchase it.
    2) A solution to this digital divide in the education system would be to provide laptops at school for the students to use during class, or for them to sign out if they need to do assignments at home. For example when I was in Jr high when i lived in Calgary our school had laptop carts so that students could do their projects on laptops while at the school. This allowed everyone to gain access to this technology. Furthermore when I was in High School in Scotland at the international school we would be allowed access to computer labs after school hours if we needed to work on projects on the computer. If the government were to get involved in this I’d say subsidizing the schools or creating a fund to help provide schools with funding in order to be able to purchase some laptops for students to use would be helpful.

    Reply
  29. Jake Osmak

    1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?
    2. What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?

    The digital divide refers to the gap between individuals who have access to information technology and communications networks, and those who do not. This divide refers to the gap that exists within the developed western world in lower income families, as well as in developing countries where technology is a luxury and not a priority compared to clean drinking water and access to food. The divide is certainly a problem, because it is basically information inequality. In North American school systems whether they be junior high, high school, or post secondary, computer are beginning to be an absolute necessity. Technology such as computers is being used to complete assignments, do quizzes, and submit semester long projects. Without access to a decent computer and network, students nowadays will struggle to keep up with their schooling from home due to a lack of personal devices. One particular solution to the problem could be getting the government more heavily involved in funding programs to provide students/workers with adequate computers and network access. The federal government could start a program through which lower income families could apply for subsidized computers and network access in order to be competent in their jobs and/or schooling. Slowly but surely internet access and technology is becoming less of a want and more of a need due to the high emphasis it holds in the workings of modern society.

    Reply
  30. Wesley Howery

    • What is the digital divide, and is it problem? 
    The Digital divide is the separation between teenagers and tweens who have personal laptops and cellphones, and those who don’t. This divide is common between households with high incomes compared to those with low incomes. This can be a problem when it come to school work. When students need resources online to help complete a project, or need to submit an assignment online then the digital divide enables these students from achieving these goals. When it comes to tv and entertainment I believe the digital divide isn’t that much of a problem because it forces teens to find more productive and beneficial ways to entertain themselves.

    • What is the solution to the digital divide? 
    I believe there is no easy solution to the digital divide. The government is already involved by providing schools with computer labs and the electronic tools necessary to enhance students learning. When it comes to personal laptops and devices the government shouldn’t get involved because tax payers are paying for benefits for the whole community, not for individuals. The only way the digital divide will be shrunk is in the future when technology becomes more efficient and affordable for all people.

    Reply
  31. Leila Methot

    1) What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?

    The digital divide in this situation is the gap between access to computers and internet technology between teenagers/ preteens because of financial differences in their families income; this is exactly like the digital divide that occurs between third world and first world countries, where the impoverished do not have access to technology at all, never mind new and modern inventions that we in the first world see every day. The digital divide is a significant problem because as for children that live in first-world nations, education is increasingly becoming the acceptable way to teach/learn and these children do not have the accessibility to technology. For instance, in my first year of University, I felt obligated to buy a new laptop that was fast and easy to use for the internet because I simply could not keep up with schooling. When I would be in a lecture and the professor did not post his/her notes afterwards, I could not keep up by physically writing down the notes and the laptop I had at that time that I attempted to try and take notes with instead of physically writing, lagged too much to keep up with how fast I needed to type. Many of my assignments and papers are also handed in through the internet Via Moodle as well. For students unable to access internet on a regular/whenever they need to basis (from home), this brings on another level of stress that is not needed with the every day stress we already receive from the school work alone (never mind trying to worry about how we can do it if we don’t have our own computer). Not only in University is education turning towards computers. Because of the serious increase in the use of technology due to the quick accessibility (if you have it) and how much easier it makes teachers lives when marking something, elementary, junior high, and high school students are even seeing a trend towards electronic homework. This is a serious problem because for those children that attend public school and their families can barely afford to send them to school with a lunch (hence the lunch programs that are out there in many public schools for children in need), how are they supposed to be expected to do their homework or studying online if that is what the teacher requires. Are they supposed to come into school earlier and do it on a school computer? how are they supposed to get there if there parents are the ones dropping them off and they can’t just simply get up and drop them off whenever they need to.

    Reply
  32. missickb

    1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?
    The digital divide is a gap between people who have access to modern information and communications technology, and those that do not or have restricted access. The gap can be based on demographic, region, economic and social inequality. Digital divide is a problem because it puts those people who do not have access or restricted access to technologies at a disadvantage when compared with those people who do have access. The Digital Disparities Facing Lower-Income Teenagers article points out some of the problems caused as a result of the digital divide. One huge problem in particular is the gap in learning. The following illustration shows this. Twelve students in the same classroom are given a research assignment that requires them to use the internet and Microsoft Word to earn an excellent grade. In the class, only half of the students have access to a home computer or personal laptop. The other half of the class has to find others means of using a computer with internet access and Microsoft Word to complete the assignment. Not having a personal or home computer creates challenges not faced by those with the access. For instance, some students without a personal or home computer might have to miss the school bus to stay on school property once school is out to use the school computers, some of the other students might have to arrange a ride or take a bus route to the local library or some other facility that will grant them access to a computer with internet and Microsoft Word, and some students started the assignment might not complete on time due to the aforementioned challenges. On the other hand, students with access to technology do not face the same challenges, which places them in a better position to earn an excellent grade. In other words, the disadvantaged students might have to work twice as hard to earn the same grade as their advantaged peers. Some of the students with the ability to learn and complete the assignment might fail because they lack access. For this reason, the digital divide is a problem.

    Reply
  33. Brian P

    The digital divide is the difference between people with adequate access to technology (Computers, lap tops, ipods, tablets, smart phones, etc.) and those with out access to the same technologies. The divide is a problem, as it tends to get wider with time. People begin to assume everyone has access to these “Basic” technologies, and so they incorporate them into everyday life without thinking about the problems it can create for those on the wrong side of the digital divide. As mentioned in the article, teachers assume students will be able to access online assignments, and work on essays on their own at home.
    I have a flip phone because I do not like the way people live with their heads buried in their smart phones. Even though I have a new laptop and plenty of access to computers in the library, I have experienced the digital divide. When travelling, I am unable to check in on my phone like the rest of my group usually does. If I get lost trying to find an address I can’t simply type it into my phone. I have experienced first hand the difficulties of the digital divide. However for me the divide is a choice that I can work around without much trouble. For those low-income families who do not have a choice, they are very much in danger of falling further and further behind.

    Reply
  34. Kira Barnowski

    1.What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?
    The digital divide refers to the difference in student’s who can economically afford and use digital devices frequently, and those who can’t/don’t. Some households are not economically stable to provide their families with digital devices such as laptops, Ipads, and Smartphones. This is becoming a problem due to the fact that schools are now hugely incorporating digital devices into the curriculum, and it leaves some students with the inability to contribute/learn properly. Schools are sending homework home electronically, and if some households don’t have access to the internet, they are unable to complete their assignments and may fall behind.There is also the aspect of social contribution through social media that is affecting present day students.
    2.What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?
    I think to ‘solve’ the digital divide, it takes involvement from a few factors. Government funding for education, I think, has been an ongoing battle. Schools are adapting so quickly to the electronic devices that they need constant updating. I believe the government should very much try to equalize it’s funding for all students, so everybody can have an equal chance at education.
    I also believe this issue requires attention from school’s teachers as well. I think it is necessary for every teacher to determine who has access to the internet and who does not. I think digital devices do have numerous benefits for students, but a teacher must be providing equal education to all students. The teacher can then make other arrangements for students without so they can be included.

    Reply
  35. Grace

    1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?
    In this case the digital divide is the separation of technology due to differences in financial situations among different demographic groups. It is a problem because it acts as a barrier between parents who can afford devices that potentially enhance the learning of young teenagers. In the article this problem is much more serious than what meets the eye. Dr. Wartella explains that studies show that individuals who have less access to technology “…aren’t able to participate in the way that more wealthy teens and tweens are able to.” The digital divide is a problem because children are experiencing their education in very different ways, which has an effect on whether or not they will attend universities, colleges, and how they will apply for jobs. It also effects how many hours a day they spend watching TV, using social media, playing games, reading, and listening to music.
    2. What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?
    The solution to the digital divide is simple, yet also complicated. With the rate that technology is growing, it is impossible to completely eliminate technology use from classrooms. It is also a challenge to ensure each student is receiving the same amount of access to technology to complete assignments and do research. There have been many solutions to decrease the gap between students who can afford these devices and those who can’t. For example students at the U of L are able to sign-out devices in order to complete assignments and they are granted access to the computers available at the library. Other examples are organizations that raise money to gift laptops to schools and children in low-income households. Apart from this the government should be more involved with the attempts to close the barrier caused by the digital divide because they are extremely influential and can have a large impact on the future of the digital divide.

    Reply
  36. Richie Hall

    1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?
    -The digital divide is the difference of opportunity between lower income and higher income children in terms of technology. It is a problem because technology is becoming more and more a part of our lives. Using it, understanding it and being able to adapt to it is necessary to succeed. Children in lower income housing are pulling the short stick in every application of technology. They have less access to technological devices which hinders their abilities to complete their school assignments because they are being done more frequently online. They are spending more time in front of televisions and on their phones, up to 8 hours a day for some children. When they go to university or college they will be so far behind their high income housing peers that it will take an enormous effort to catch up. This will cause a cycle. High income housing children will grow up to secure stable middle class or better jobs, and low income housing kids will struggle to find stable full time employment, with very few actually doing so. Their children will be raised in the same environments as they were and the digital divide will only grow.

    2. What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?
    -The goal of the solution is to ensure that every child regardless of race or financial status is given an equal opportunity to access and understand technology. How do we get there? I don’t know. Should the government be involved? Yes. To accomplish a goal such as this one, it requires that everyone contributes to the process, and the government is certainly a powerful player that will be necessary to even the technological playing field for all children, poor and rich.

    Reply
  37. Jacob Burley

    Digital Disparity
    1. What is the digital divide, and is it a problem? Why?

    The digital divide is the divide that is starting to occur within children of different socioeconomic levels. Kids whose parents make over a certain level of income have more access to digital devices yet spend less overall time on said devices. As well some student are being forced to do all of their homework on smart phones rather than being able to use desktop or laptop computers. This is giving a large advantage to students that have regular access to laptops when it comes to the marks they are able to achieve in school.

    2. What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?

    I believe there should be more avenues for government subsidies to help low-income families get access to technology. As well school should look into lending out computer to students from there schools if they need to. I feel like if you give responsibility to these students and families it could make a large difference to there quality of life. As well it should help them be more familiar with technology in the future, which should help them no longer be in a low-income situation when they have a family themselves

    Reply
  38. Dalicia Reeser

    1 What is the digital divide, and is it problem?
    The digital divide is the dramatic gap between people with access to computers and wifi and the citizens who still don’t have much access to computers.
    2 Why?
    It’s a problem because it gives the individuals with computer and wifi access ability to do schoolwork more efficiently which gives them an unfair advantage to the ones who can’t.

    What is the solution to the digital divide?
    When I was attending my first college courses I didn’t have a computer. It was very difficult since I had classes online, however it wasn’t impossible it was just extremely inconvenient. I had to spend more time on the college campus then most using the campus computers in order to do my homework and I think my grades reflected that I was doing equally as well as my classmates who had a computer. However a college student is a little bit different then a high school student. High school doesn’t stay open late like a college campus does, or they may live far away from the school and their parents can only pick them up at specific times. Depending on their location they may not have access to a library with computers.

    I feel like the simple solution is teachers shouldn’t be allowed to give homework online. There may be assignments made were the student has to do research on an assignment, but you can provide some class time towards that assignment for student with little to no access to computers to do some research.

    My current employment forces me to sign on to their web page to look at and confirm my schedule. My computer was acting up and it took me almost half an hour just so I can look at my schedule. I only moved to Lethbridge a couple months ago and haven’t formed a friendship that I’m confident enough to ask if I could stop by and use their computer. If I wasn’t student with access to a campus computer there would be reprocussions such as loosing my job if my computer were to crash. I feel like the digital direction we are going is completely relying on computers which is concerning for those unable to afford them or gain access to them.

    3. Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?

    I feel like the solution is more simple and more affordable then the government supplying children of low income households with computers. Giving everyone a computer is promoting the negative direction we are heading.

    Reply
  39. RH

    1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?
    – The term “Digital divide” describes a gap in terms of access to and usage of information and communication technology. This includes the skills to make use of this technology within a geographic area, society or community. The digital divide in this article is between low-income families and high-income families as higher income families are more likely to possess technology that has access to the internet. This affects the students in schools as the article suggests that schools are shifting the learning techniques to digital means over the traditional methods. For better or for worse, many lectures, assignments, and homework modules or tools are all becoming computer based. This puts individuals at a disadvantage if they do not have access to a computer. Unfortunately, this setback will put them behind their classmates who do have access to technology regularly.

    2. What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or why not?
    – Personally, I think the government should be able to provide a solution for this “digital divide”. It can come from outlets such as providing funding to schools to ensure that all students at school can have access to a computer or providing computer and internet access at public venues such as libraries. All students should have the opportunity to complete their work and learn. If a student does not have access to a computer at home to complete the given assignment, they should be able to complete this assignment on another computer provided by the school or otherwise regardless.

    Reply
  40. Carrie Chen

    What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?
    Divide among the information rich and the information poor .Actually it showed a capacity to create wealth gap.So it is a problem,because, it means unfair,especially for teenagers,in their homework,they usually have to search the information on the Internet,their teachers will give homework online,but teenagers in lower-income households have fewer desktop, laptop and tablet computers to use at home than their higher-income peers,so they can not get a higher education.And it also can be up to national level,developed countries have more digital information resources,but undeveloped countries do not have good information systems and infrastructure,so their lifestyle are undeveloped.
    What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?
    (1) to strengthen the research and development of core technologies.(2)Reducing the wealth gap.(3)to strengthen information infrastructure.SO,the government be involved in the solution,because to develop this need government’s support,their policy support, financial support,human support.For example,some teenagers in lower-income households,they do not have laptop or computers,but government can develop school’s information infrastructure,so poor teenagers can also study at school or after class ,use school’s computers freely.

    Reply
  41. Erica K

    The solution to the digital divide is to adapt at the pace of technology but also what each family can provide. Professors in Universities should not be administering only online assignments and projects. There are computers on campus and computer rental ability as well which students should be taking advantage of. If a professor says you need to hand in a hardcopy of your essay and you do not have a printer what should you do? Should there be some more understanding of a student’s situation as not everyone can afford to replace a printer or computer that crashes let alone buy one in the first place. I think the government should be involved to a degree especially when it comes to post secondary education and the disadvantages some people have. I do not think the government is the magic solution though, I think we need to work together as an entire society and help those people who do not get the luxury of digital devices get access and possession of those digital devices. Homes in developed countries that are still using dial-up web access needs to be solved. How can we give those people wireless internet at a price they can afford so they to can learn and explore the Internet?

    I think there needs to be a balance though with technology. I have already seen it in Gen Y where people are beginning to lack social skills and would rather just sit at home and watch television or surf the web. Even when Gen Y (not limited to Gen Y) hang out with their peers they are on their phones 50% of the time and the interaction between one another is poor and probably not very healthy. The human race needs attention, love and affection from others and in a world where digital devices have our full attention it is hard to give humans that satisfaction they need. The digital divide is without a doubt a big problem because in a world that has become more globalized we are more divided than ever. If we are relying on the internet to keep us interconnected, those people who do not have digital devices are being left behind in an ever advancing world.

    Reply
  42. Olivia

    1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?
    The digital divide refers to the gap between individuals who have immediate access to technology and those that do not. In this article the digital divide was between teenagers computer access coming from higher income houses compared to teenagers computer access from lower income homes. Being our world is becoming more and more technology based, this is definitely a problem for those individuals who do not have access to this technology. Many lectures, assignments and homework modules are all computer based, so if individuals do not have access to a computer, this will set them far behind their classmates who do have access to their own computer regularly.
    2. What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?
    I think the government should provide a solution for this by giving the funding to schools to ensure that all students physically at the school can have access to a computer. If a student does not have access to a computer at home to complete the given assignment, they should be able to complete this assignment on a school computer either during class or in after school hours.

    Reply
    1. Quinton Slack

      1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem? Why?
      The digital divide is the gap that distinguishes and compares the “information rich” and “information poor” meaning those who have access to information and those who don’t. The digital divide has been around since the use of technology came into play and the gap in my mind was a lot higher ( in North America at least) before internet access became mainstream. In todays society within North America I wouldn’t even say there is much of a digital divide in a sense that everyone can have access to resources via computer or internet through schools universities etc…even though some kids might not be able to afford the nicest stuff people can still make do with the resources provided. In Canada (especially) in Alberta where we live it would be ill mannered to say all kids don’t have equal opportunity as our government provides us with unbelievable resources.
      2. What is the solution to the digital divide? Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?
      I don’t believe the government should do anything more than they are already doing. When kids don’t have resources at home or outside of school there is ample time in a day for someone to go to the library and get resources to have equal opportunity to the rich

      Reply
  43. Blake

    1.The Digital divide refers to a gap between on category versus another in regards to having access to technological devices and those who don’t have access to them. This divide is a problem as expressed in the case where it can put children at school to a disadvantage. This disadvantage in school occurs because of the teachers using online learning thing and having to do online homework where some students because they are from a low income family or don’t have regular access to a computer are put at a disadvantage to those with regular access.
    2.The solution to the digital divide for educational purposes is that the education system should try and provide all of their students with the means to access a computer. I think that the government cause supply funding to the school board so that they are able to fit more digital technology into the budget. I also think that the teachers need to recognize that not all students have access to digital technology at home and accept the fact that they will not be able to do online homework as easily as others might be able to and should try to accommodate to the students that are less fortunate by providing alternatives.

    Reply

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