The Digital Divide – It sounds like a Ray Bradbury novel, right? Another future predicting dystopian novel explaining how the future will be full of powerful, mind-numbing technology set to consume society and rid the world of basic human interaction. Well, maybe I read too much. The idea is about the separation between those with technology and those without and as a result, those with the ability to use it and those without the ability. It is not merely a game of have and have not, though our research showed the effect of technology in a person’s or community’s life is large. Our research also revealed, to my great surprise, that despite massive improvements in the last few years, the divide is actually increasing. The focus of our project was to counteract that increase and provide solutions that could increase the presence of technology.
Photo Cred: Lane Terralever
In this project, my group and I studied the Digital Divide and Digital Inequality as a whole and as it related to a specific state, Idaho. We were asked to act together as a task force to rank six proposed solutions and provide three additional solutions for bridging the Digital Divide. In our research and discussions, we found that though we may disagree on ranking the provided solutions, we all agree that the solution to the Digital Divide is not in one step or even six. It is about acting to integrate and encourage technology use at all ages, in all communities, and for all purposes.
This project opened my mind to how great the divide is in the world, not just the least developing countries. The divide is everywhere, and even though technology is becoming more affordable and more common, it still has a ways to go. I think it is especially easy for me as an online instructor to forget the breadth and depth of the divide, so this assignment was an excellent reminder for me. My new information about the Digital Divide and Digital Inequality also demonstrates the value of what I am trying to do as an EdTech major and what one of my priorities should be as a future “techie.” A girl can dream, can’t she. 🙂
Photo Cred: Normand Theriault
We formatted our findings in a Prezi consisting of an overview of the Digital Divide and Digital Inequality, six ranked solutions plus explanations, and three additional solutions. I was incredibly excited to see that we were using Prezi as our presentation format. Prezi is something I have heard about and seen my students use; however, I have never had the opportunity to use it myself. This project gave the drive to learn how. And now, it’s official. I’m hooked. As a curriculum designer for an online ESL school, I make PowerPoint presentations all day. All day. I repeat – all day. With my constant use, I’ve grown bored with it, and now, I am over-the-moon excited to have a new toy, so to speak. Likewise, as a curriculum designer, it is easy to get bogged down with the same templates and lesson formats, so I enjoyed reading the two articles about design. Many of the principles I knew and implement already in my day-to-day activity; however, I found the idea of using decorative fonts for headings to be a bit surprising. I try to avoid decorative fonts because I have found that no matter where they are on a slide, they distract readers. Most of my presentations, for my classroom or designer needs, include only clear, stick fonts so that students can easily and quickly read the information. Perhaps, I judged too soon though. Fontspace here I come!!
I love being a curriculum designer. There is something refreshing to me about getting paid to fret over the small stuff. My nit-picky, detail-oriented personality is finally paying off! That being said, given the time, I could change a thousand things about our presentation. Not because I dislike any of the content or design, but because this was my first time using Prezi, and I feel like each time I edited my frames, I learned something new. I would love to learn more about the animation features and use some of the other templates. Even with my limited experience, it looks like a resource that my students would enjoy.