Dissecting The Digital Divide



This article really intrigued me as it was a classical example for me taking something for granted and maybe some people might feel the way i did after reflecting on it. It goes back to our discussions in class where we said that we live in our own bubble and sometimes do not take that extra step to put ourselves in the shoes of others. In my school i was always surrounded by technology of all sort, thankfully, i had teachers that were very digitally literate and our school provided the context for us to grow and expand our technological capabilities. So i never took the time to reflect on how other schools especially governmental ones do it. 

I do agree with the author’s argument that the term “digital divide” is flawed in many ways, because the solution to a digital divide would be to provide the equipment needed in order for one to enter the digital world. However, it is not as easy as it sounds because you need the resources for it and for example here in Egypt, the internet is not as strong as it is abroad. You also need those who are digitally literate to help teach others how to apply knowledge to become part of this wireless world. And in Egypt’s context i think that the two most areas we lack in are the human and social resources. As i have previously mentioned, most teachers in Egyptian governmental schools for example receive minimal or very basic knowledge about the digital world and so they are unable to fully help their students. Social resources are also a huge issue in Egypt since not every school is able to afford technological equipment that could cater to all of its students (the incompetence of the internet connection is also an issue). And so what ends up happening like one of the teachers mentioned is that there are a few resources that are bought in some schools but they end up bringing more loss than gain because no one ends up using them.

“The meaning and value of access varies in particular social context;access exists on a continuum, rather than in a bipolar opposition; access alone brings no automatic benefit; and acquisition of access is a matter not only of education and culture, but also of power”. This was a point that i found to be very interesting and i see it play out in almost every single aspect of the Egyptian society because almost everything in Egypt is run by power and those who have power are the ones who benefit. So what happens to those who do not have that same power is a thought i was left to reflect with on my own after reading it and i have not found an answer. But i think that as long as our society works this way, social and educational segregation as well as stratification will continue to grow even wider and wider. 

I also liked (and i talked about this briefly before) how the author argued that the term digital divide is meant to be a solution to overcome social gaps by simply providing equipment without taking into consideration the context in which they will be used. In Egypt, education is not the same across the board (governmental vs. international schools) and so the education that will be received in both systems (given that both are provided with computers, internet, etc.) will never be the same.

However, my favourite quote by far was we have the hardware, we have the software, but we lack the humanware” because it perfectly sums up everything i have reflected on.

 

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