The digital divide refers to the different degrees of access members of society have to computers or the internet. Teachers have an influential role in determining how much this affects their students. For example a teacher can create inequity among students if they assign homework requiring the internet and not all students have such access. The digital divide not only refers to access to the Internet and digital devices, but also considers the degree of knowledge individuals have regarding technology use. Some individuals have internet access but are unable to use or navigate devices due to lack of education and understanding. This can also cause inequity in the classroom if teachers naively assume all students have a certain level of understanding and commence teaching at a level higher than some children are at. This discriminates against members of the class as they are left behind in the lesson and cannot engage with the learning taking place. Due to this teachers need to be aware of the digital divide existing between members of the class when planning lessons or setting homework. This may involve finding alternative ways of teaching content in order to prevent inequity among students. Obviously teachers will also need to consider what technology the school has available to use during their lessons as the degree of technology available in different schools is also very diverse.
It is important that teachers acknowledge the growing use of technology in modern society and educate children about online security. This can include informing children about the various scams they may encounter and how to avoid being ‘sucked in’. A good saying for children to go by is; if it sounds to good to be true, then it probably is. Cyber bullying is also increasingly important to acknowledge in the classroom as children are constantly accessing social media. This form of bullying is particularly critical to address as children will often say things via social media or txt that they wouldn’t usually say in a face-to-face situation. Therefore technology not only makes the degree of bullying more severe, but it also means the comments made can be recorded and used as evidence if such treatment continues. So when preparing a lesson or activity about bullying don’t forget to include cyber bullying, as that is the most common form of bullying in our modern digital world.
Cougar News Now. (2013). Cyber bullying [Image].