Digital Division: a #digped Discussion

The conversation curated and archived via Storify.

This Friday, July 6 from 1:00 – 2:00pm Eastern time (10:00 – 11:00am Pacific time), Hybrid Pedagogy will host a Twitter discussion group under the hashtag #digped focused on the matter of the “digital divide”. Or, more to the point, what the digital divide can teach us. The discussion will circulate around ideas raised in the Hybrid Pedagogy article, “It’s About Class: Interrogating the Digital Divide”, as well as ideas posed by the articles cited below.

For at least a decade, the notion that internet access and digital literacy create a “have” and “have-not” division in American and global culture has inspired everything from outrage to activism. Is the digital divide a new site of social justice, or just a rhetoric of inequality?

As teachers and students, we are faced every day with a multiplicity of technological options, both in terms of teaching and learning, and also personally and professionally. How do we want to engage with the world — through Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr? And how do we want to learn and guide learning — using an LMS, WordPress, Udacity, MOOCs? These are the questions we can ask when we have a wired classroom, a smartphone, ready internet access, and a working knowledge of the tools these technologies provide.

But what if we don’t have any of those things? What if all we have in our classrooms are blackboard, chalk, pen and paper? Many teachers work in communities without easy access to digital technology; and they teach in tech-deprived (tech-free?) classrooms, unable to utilize the collaborative tools most of us have become accustomed to. Under circumstances like these, how can we inspire students to become digitally literate citizens? Should we even try?

Is hybridity of any sort available when we teach — and our students live — largely without technology?

We invite you to read Lee Skallerup Bessette’s article “It’s About Class: Interrogating the Digital Divide” in preparation for the discussion. As well, we recommend the following articles for your consideration:

The Digital Divide: Where We Are – by Norris Dickard and Diana Schneider

Is There a Digital Divide, or an Intellectual-Pedagogical One? – by Jackie Gerstein

Digital Differences – an overview of the Pew Internet Project

What Digital Divide – by Sonia Arrison

Some questions to consider in advance of the discussion:

  • What is the appropriate pedagogical response to division?
  • How can technology help, and how does it scratch even deeper lines in the sand?
  • Should we be working to mend the divide, or should we be teaching to our students’ resources?
  • Can pedagogy sans technology nonetheless teach the skills necessary for using technology? Should we be aiming at essential skills — creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving — rather than at skills based on the latest device, software, or application?
  • Is there really a digital divide at all? Or do we acknowledge that the world is turning upon the axis of technology, regardless of the tools we have at hand?

If you are unable to join us on July 6 at 1:00pm EST (10:00am PST), we will continue the #digped conversation every other Friday for the rest of the Summer. If you have suggestions for future topics, feel free to add them to the comments on this entry or tweet them to @slamteacher.

[Photo by Ian Sane]

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