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Digital Disconnect: The Gap Between Students and Their Schools

I found this report very interesting in light of recent developments in BYOT policies. This report is from 2002 and highlights how students were using the Internet at that time. Key findings suggest students using the Internet to help them do their schoolwork, collaborate with classmates for projects and upcoming tests and quizzes, and that students’ Internet activities are closely related to their daily lives.


The most significant findings related to BYOT are as follows.


-Students use the Internet educationally in the following ways: reference library or virtual textbook, virtual tutor, virtual guidance counselor, and even virtual notebook.


-School administrators, not teachers, set the tone for Internet use in school.


-While students relate examples of both engaging and poor instructional uses of the Internet assigned by their teachers, students say that not-so-engaging uses are the more typical of their assignments


The report also uses the following quote to emphasize how schools should view the importance of the Internet and technology usage:


 “The fates guide those who go willingly; those who do not, they drag.”


Although this report is 10 years old, we are still facing the same challenges and battles. How do you view the digital gap? What are you doing to address the divide?


Levin, D., & Arafeh, S. (2002). The digital disconnect: The widening gap between

            Internet-savvy students and their schools. Pew Internet. Retrieved from

            www.pewinternet .org.

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A great summary of the report and linking it to now does seem relevant.

I am lucky that I get the chance to teach both 16-18 year olds and their teachers. As a teacher educator my biggest frustration is trying to get the trainee teachers to just try the technology with an open mind. Something the 16-18 year olds do without fuss. They may not like the technology, but they will give it a go.

I am spending my time encouraging trainee teachers to create and adapt interactive resources that can be used on multiple devices in an engaging way, trying to move them from the organisational mindset to something more creative.

I understand your frustration. Often, I feel teachers fear that the incorporation of technology is going to change the traditional, age-old, way of teaching, which it will. However, the effective use of tech for instructional purposes and assessment is definitely needed to make the classroom more engaging and interactive.

Sasha interesting article and great point, amazing how much technology has grown in 10 years however educators have not really grown with technology. I think the digital gap is a power struggle and we needs to realize that we can use social network in a positive way in the classroom....facebook isn't always the worst thing. I'm currently just introducing digital cameras into my preschool program and they kids low it-they are know creating digital stories on our computers. This was a struggle just getting enough donated devices ro start implementing this. I realize this is a different issue in K-12, however Pre-K struggles with this issue in a different way.


School administrators do play a huge role in creating a digital presence in schools.  BYOT must be implemented correctly with a plan for students' first learning the role as digital citizens.  Once students' know the correct use and are aware of the expectations from the teachers and principals, BYOT could be highly effective and engaging.  However, I believe teachers must also be aware of what they expect from their students and administrators before BYOT is implemented as well.  A clear vision must be created for BYOT to be productive in s school wide community.



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