Breaking the Digital Divide – HELPS
What is the digital divide? As a parent I see the digital divide exemplified in a variety of ways in our Education system.
First, I wonder what kind of educational technology options are available for my kids in their school. For example, I have two children and one has a SMARTboard in their classroom and one does not. In this case, the digital divide would refer to the “hardware” that one classroom has over the other. Hardware could refer to SMARTboards, iPads, mobile leanring devices and carts of laptops. However, the digital divide is not just about the “hardware” that you see in the schools. It is what my kids are “doing” with the hardware that is important. Although there is a SMARTboard in my son’s classroom, it is not being ysed to engage the students and encourage them to think critically. Instead, it is being used as a VCR. As a result, the hardware and how the teacher “uses” the technology are equally important.
Breaking the digital divide is dependent on other factors than who has the most computer “hardware”. It is also dependent on the leadership of your child’s school and the vision and culture at the school. What kinds of ways does the adminsitration team promote educational leadership in the school? Does your principal have a blog? Do they use twitter? Does your school promote classroom blogs? Is there evidence of a partnership between what goes on at school and what goes on at home? Are there opportunities for you as a parent to learn about digital citizenship? Are there parent sessions or online courses at your school to help you understand about educational technology?
Finally, digital divide also refers to the opportunities your child has to complete their education in a “personalized” way. Digital options include online courses like those offered through HELPS and GlobalEd. Students would have the opportunity to add or enrich to their education by “bridging” face to face leanring enviornments and online environments. More details can be found at: www.GlobalEd.ca
In the next posts I will cover some issues regarding being a parent and the invasion of “social media”.
Verena Roberts BEd, MA, TESL, MET – in progress
CEO- Chief Education Officer, www.GlobalEd.ca