Has the Academic World Forgotten the Digital Divide?

Some have proclaimed that it doesn’t exist, but I am sorry – the digital divide is alive and well. I know someone who teaches at the second largest high school in the nation. She is attempting to integrate technology into her classes. She also has a hard time finding all of these so-called “digital natives.”

I just got out of the keynote speech for today at the 2007 IOL conference. The speaker brought in several college students to demonstrate to us how today’s generation is different from previous generations. I loved hearing what they had to say – they did a great job. I was disappointed in the fact that the panel was not very ethnically or economically diverse. I’m sure they aren’t all rich – but they all mentioned owning things that most of the students I mentioned above will never own. I’ve surveyed those students on technology, and I have found that all of their responses were radically different than ANY fact presented to us at this session. And these students are predominately African-American.

Of course, if you travel across the digital divide in Dallas, you will see that every student is just like the ones that we saw on this panel. And – I want to make sure I point this out – I liked the panel. I thought the did a good job of representing their side of the digital divide. What I am concerned about is that I haven’t even heard the digital divide mentioned at the last 3 conferences I have been to (I’ve only been to three in the past year). But, now thanks to more scholarships and grants, we are having more students from what I call the “forgotten side” of the digital divide going on the college. Time for a wake up call…