The Digital Divide in Education
Annual International Standing Conference for the History of Education (ISCHE XXV),
There is a digital divide occurring on every possible level: locally, nationally, and globally. Many people argue that the digital divide unfairly equips wealthy citizen and their children with more information and opportunities than those with lower incomes. In addition, there is a big debate around the world whether technology has benefited society and how it will affect society in the future. It can be issued from opposite perspective. Has technology harmed society? Has technology improved society? Has technology created a digital divide? Has technology not created a digital divide? By considering all the questions above, this study examines the digital divide at three different levels: a) from the perspective of the US as the most powerful country in the World, b) from a global perspective and c) from the Perspective of Turkey. After defining the term "digital divide", I look at the digital divide in the context of the US, mostly focusing on education. However, approaching the issue from only the United States' perspective is not enough because the digital divide is not only an American issue but also an international one. Digital gaps in education, employment, race, and gender have already become worldwide issues and the educational divide is getting wider between developed countries and developing countries, between cities and rural areas, and between the rich and the poor. Therefore, another purpose of this study is to look at the problem from a global perspective and to figure out the third-world situation. The purpose of doing that is to gain an insight into how wide the divide is between developing countries (the third world) and the most developed country, the US. As a third word country, Turkey has a special place in this study because it is representative of developing countries. Since the digital divide is a very complex problem, the solutions must be based on an understanding of local needs and conditions, and integrating technology into society inn effective and sustainable way. Therefore, in the final part, I deal with the solutions to close the gap focusing especially on the question of what should be the role of education and what should be the role of teachers in closing the gap. (Contains 11 footnotes.)
Tarman, B. (2003). The Digital Divide in Education. Presented at Annual International Standing Conference for the History of Education (ISCHE XXV) 2003.