The need to include technology in the classroom is now more apparent than ever. It is ingrained into the Australian Curriculum as one of the eight key learning areas. One of its key components is the use of digital technologies, which requires students to “use computational thinking and information systems to define, design and implement digital solutions” (Australian Curriculum, n.d). This would suggest that children have access to digital technologies in the classroom, but is each classroom the same? More importantly, does each child have the same access to digital technologies at home? Statistically speaking, not all child does, as Howell (2012) indicates.
- “Broadband is accessed by 62 per cent of households in Australia, with 86 per cent having internet access”
- Lower income households “are significantly less likely to have an internet connection”
- 42 per cent of children aged 5-14 “used the internet for 2 hours or less per week, while 4 per cent were online for 20 hours or more.”
This creates a digital divide between those that have access and those that do not. Although the cost of digital devices has reduced, the affordability of broadband is still out of reach for some (Bentley, 2014).
What does this mean for our kids?
(Brony Paul, 2015)
Sure, they have access to it in schools, but they can’t spend their whole day online. One can assume that those without access to an online world outside of school are severely disadvantaged in the classroom. Taking this into consideration, teachers must allow students ample time in class to work on their digital projects, or search online content for their assignments. If you give each student a fair go the opportunity for success is evenly divided.
An interesting take on lack of resources in remote areas comes from Nicholas Negroponte, who started the not-for-profit organisation ‘One Laptop per Child’ offering laptops for children in developing countries. Check the video out and ask yourself this question, ‘do you think this would work in Australia?’.
Australian Curriculum. (n.d). Technologies: Introduction. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/technologies/introduction
Bentley, P. (2014). Lack of affordable broadband creating ‘digital divide’. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-02/bridging-the-digital-divide/5566644
Brony Paul. (2015, March 5). I’m Learnding . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKg2ZzPKl2M
Howell, J. (2012). Teaching With ICT. South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press
TED. (2008, June 27). Nicholas Negroponte: One Laptop per Child – 2 years on . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_TKjfgjiQs
The Horizons Tracker. (2016). Digital-Divide [image]. Retrieved from http://adigaskell.org/2016/03/03/is-open-data-worsening-the-digital-divide/digital-divide/