Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wimba, Inc.

Wimba, Inc., (2008. April 16). Momentum for Collaborative Technology Builds in K-12 Classrooms. Retrieved April 16, 2008, from Yahoo! Finance Web site:

Wimba, Inc. is a technology company that introduces different programs and/or products to schools for their use in an online environment or in a traditional classroom, in order to enhance the educational process for all students. “Throughout the country, K-12 schools have started to use Wimba learning solutions to better address the educational needs of traditional, home-schooled, at-risk, and gifted students” (Wimba, Inc., 2008).

This article stood out to me, especially today, because I was just having a conversation yesterday with the GATE teacher (gifted education), who I work closely with, about our district’s idea to integrate an online education component into the GATE curriculum for next year. I found this to be very interesting, due to the lack of interest our district has had in technology. The GATE kids would still be in the regular classroom as they are now, but part of their GATE pull out program would include an online course component, in order to meet the needs of all of our gifted students. After having the discussion I had yesterday, this article seemed very interesting. I’m now anxious to see how exactly a program like this would work and how my district would implement it into a program such as GATE.

How much does it cost? Who creates the lessons? Do the lessons correlate with Ohio standards or are they used as supplements to what happens in the classroom? How are the lessons evaluated?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Great Info.!

Education Development Center, Inc., (2003). Using technology in the classroom. Retrieved April 14, 2008, from STAR Tech Program Web site:

This website is a great way for teachers to learn about how technology can be integrated into the classroom and why it should be. Even though I use technology and I know that it is important for our students to use and learn on a daily basis, I still found this website to be very informative.

The site offers many different sources of information for teachers. They list numerous websites and articles about technology that I found to be very beneficial. It’s a great set of resources, listed in one convienent place. They also give an overview of different types of technological tools and what they are used for. However, my favorite part is the vignettes. They have many different vignettes here to read, which are organized by grade level and special education. I think that learning from other teacher’s experiences is one of the best ways to learn, and these vignettes provide just that.

I’ll leave you with a quote from this website:
“Technology can be used in many ways as an integral part of the curriculum to meet the needs of diverse learners. For example, it can introduce into the classroom exciting curricula based on real-world problems; provide scaffolds and tools to enhance learning; give students and teachers more opportunities for feedback, reflection, and revision; and build local and global communities where people gather and share information. Technology can help students recognize, organize, and represent knowledge” (Education Development Center, Inc., 2003).

This is a really great site…you should check it out!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Great Resources!

Education World Tech Team, (2006). The Best Tech Tools for Teachers. Retrieved April 14, 2008, from Education World Web site:

As you know, I’ve chose to explore the area of using technology in the classroom, so that we can teach our students the technology skills they need for the future, regardless of if they have a computer at home or not.

This site is FANTASTIC!!! It lists a multitude of tech tools for teachers to use in the classroom and on their own. Here are some examples: Kidspiration, Inspiration, Inspire Data, Skype, Techno Spud, Fun Brain, Garageband, iMovie, Art Rage, Rubistar, Easy Test Maker, and many more! Not only do they give you great tech resources to try out, but they also give some real examples of how they were used and the outcome of their use in the classroom and by teachers. I absolutely love this site! I think it’s a great resource for any educator, either for classroom use or for their own personal use. I’m sure, out of all of the sites listed on here, there is at least one that you will be unfamiliar with. As an educator with very little free time, it’s nice to find one article that includes so many great resources, instead of having to search the web for hours to find all of these on my own. I love this site!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Media Equation

Reeves, Byron, and Clifford Nass. 1996. "Ch 1, The Media Equation," pp. 3-18 in The Media Equation. Cambridge University Press.

I found this article to be very interesting, but I felt like I had a million thoughts running through my mind as I read it. I was thinking about so many different scenarios where I’ve seen these things happen, both to me and to my students. It really made me think about how I view technology.
To sum up the idea of the “media equation”, I thought this line from the chapter was perfect, “In short, we have found that individuals’ interactions with computers, television, and new media are fundamentally social and natural, just like interactions in real life” (Reeves & Nass, 1996).
After considering the idea of the “media equation,” I feel like this topic does impact my study on the digital divide. Actually, I think it impacts any sort of study on any topic dealing with technology.
I think that the concept behind the media equation, the fact that humans interact with computers as if they might be humans, is becoming a huge part of our society. I think this because of how technology is a huge part of our society and most people’s day to day lives. A perfect example of this is how people don’t really write letters as much as they used to, instead we write emails. The computer is now our source of communication, much as a human would be if they were in front of us, and in the same form, meaning that the response is almost immediate.
This concept is very applicable to the idea of the digital divide, because it effects how different people communicate, due to having technology or the lack there of. “Like all other tools, it seems that media simply help people accomplish tasks, learn new information, or entertain themselves” (Reeves & Nass, 1996). If this is the case, then those people without access to technology are at a disadvantage.
My wonder now is, do people who do not use technology very often, respond to computers the same as people who use technology many times in one day? Do they still treat computers as humans?
I think my favorite part of this entire article is on pg. 8, where it talks about how people don’t want to make the computer feel bad. Throughout the article it also talks about how, on a survey, people don’t want to rate the computer bad, if they are taking the survey on that same computer…basically because they don’t want to hurt the computer’s feelings. At first, I was laughing about this. But, when I actually thought about it, I would have done the same thing! J This article is humorous and very true!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Four Categories

Learning Point Associates, Critical issue: Using technology to improve student achievement. “Different Types of Technology and their Educational Applications,” Retrieved April 8, 2008, from North Central Regional Educational Laboratory Web site:

After reading so much about the idea of the digital divide as a whole, I want to look at certain aspects of this topic in more detail. One idea that I feel is very important when dealing with the digital divide, is the effective implementation of technology into the classroom.

This article is about using technology in the classroom and how and why it is/can be effective.

The main idea of this entire article is:
“Students can learn ‘from’ computers—where technology used essentially as tutors and serves to increase students basic skills and knowledge; and can learn ‘with’ computers—where technology is used a tool that can be applied to a variety of goals in the learning process and can serve as a resource to help develop higher order thinking, creativity and research skills” (Reeves, 1998; Ringstaff & Kelley, 2002, as cited in Learning Point Associates).

Both learning “from” and learning “with” computers can be beneficial to our students, as long as it is done in an educational manner that still covers the topics and standards that need to be covered.

Bruce and Levin (1997) (as cited in Learning Point Associates), “developed the idea of technology as media with four different focuses: media for inquiry, media for communication, media for construction, & media for expression.”

After thinking about these four categories for awhile, I realized that they were actually really accurate. Here’s some examples of each category, suggested by Bruce and Levin (1997) as cited in Learning Point Associates:

  • Media for inquiry: spreadsheets, data modeling, online databases, online microscopes, hypertext
  • Media for communication: word processing, email, conferencing, simulations, tutorials, blogs, wikis
  • Media for construction: robotics, computer-aided design
  • Media for expression: interactive video, animation software, music composition

    I think the reason these four categories appeal to me is so that I can classify what exactly I am using the technology for. It’s easy to list the standards that I cover with each lesson, but this helps to tell me the skill I’m teaching my students, that will benefit them in their future education and career.

Monday, April 7, 2008

True or False?

  • Dickard, N, & Schneider, D (2002). The Digital Divide: Where We Are Today. Edutopia, Retrieved April 7, 2008, from

    I found this article recently and, although it doesn’t go with my specific topic of study within the digital divide, I have to post it anyways because it really made me mad.

    This article takes a look at a report released in February of 2002, from the U.S. Department of Commerce, titled “A Nation Online: How Americans Are Expanding Their Use of the Internet.” The message from this report is that the digital divide is not an issue anymore and is no longer a concern. However, as you can guess, MANY people disagree with this! I am one of those people. I STRONGLY disagree with this! I think the digital divide is still a major concern, and that the problem could possibly be growing.

    Here are some important facts talked about:
  • 54% (or 143 million) of Americans are using internet – this actually seems quite low to me, considering how much our society revolves around the internet for jobs, education, etc.
  • This number is growing by 2 million new users a month, due to federally funded programs.
  • However, “the current Administration sees ‘A Nation Online as proof that a targeted national commitment to bridging the divide is no longer necessary. Along with a 17 percent decrease in educational technology funding from FY 2001, the TOP and CTC programs have been slated for termination in 2003.” (Dickard & Schneider, 2002)
  • If we take the aid away, aren’t the numbers going to DECREASE, not INCREASE??? Hmm, something to think about.

    The following are two arguments given in the article:

    “Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell that what we have is a ‘Mercedes divide,’ …many of the Internet's so called 'have-nots' are really 'want-nots” (Dickard & Schneider, 2002).

    “In response to arguments that the Internet is unnecessary or something of a luxury, Mark Lloyd, Executive Director of the Civil Rights Forum on Communications Policy, said, ‘Being disconnected in the Information Age is not like being deprived of a Mercedes or some other luxury. Being disconnected means being disconnected from the economy and democratic debate’ “(Dickard & Schneider, 2002).

    Which side are you on? Do you feel the divide is diminishing? If so, what do you think will happen when federal aid disappears?

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Curtis, D (2003, January 24). A remarkable transformation: Union city public schools. Retrieved April 2, 2008, from Edutopia Web site:

This article is such an inspiration! Not only that, but it confirms my beliefs in the effectiveness of technology use in the classroom.

This article is about Union City Public Schools in New Jersey, who were failing academically and were close to being taken over by the state. When it came to state indicators, they were failing 44 out of 52 indicators. They then decided that something needed to change.

They adopted a new plan, which included heavy use of technology, and now 80% of the students are meeting state standards, compared to 30% before the new plan. (Curtis, 2003) What an increase!

What it took: “A combination of focused leadership, a comprehensive, research-based overhaul of the system, technology, teacher and community input, site-based decision-making, and more (and carefully targeted) money explain the turnaround” (Curtis, 2003).

The district changed from teacher centered classrooms to student centered classrooms. “Throughout the classrooms in Union City's eleven schools, the trend is to eliminate rows of desks facing a blackboard and passive students listening (or not) to forty-minute lectures. Students more likely will be working individually or in groups -- often at computers -- while the teacher circumnavigates the room, stopping to advise or confer when needed” (Curtis, 2003).

The use of computers helped in this major overhaul and the adoption of a research based curriculum:

"The Internet just broke down the walls of my classroom" (Curtis, 2003).

“Technology is what pushed it (their new plan) to great heights” (Curtis, 2003).

This proves what I’ve been talking about all along….the use of computers DOES make a difference! Computers are an effective classroom tool and will benefit our students in the long run.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Computers in the Classroom

Smerden, B, Cronen, S, Lanahan, L, Anderson, J, & Iannotti, N, Angeles, J. (2000). Teachers' Tools for the 21st Century: A report on teachers' use of technology. Education Statistics Quarterly, [2 (4)], Retrieved April 2, 2008,from

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I can change my instructional strategies so that I better integrate technology and teach my students the technological skills they need to possess outside of school, regardless of if they have a computer at home. This article, although somewhat dated (1999), gave some facts that really relate not necessarily all to me, but definitely to my district and, more specifically, my school.

First, here are some interesting facts that I have read in many article and believe them to be true:
Teachers in low-minority and low-poverty schools are more likely to use computers than teachers in high-minority and high-poverty schools. I contribute this to the lack of funding and/or resources available for certain school districts.

Teachers with fewest years experience used the internet to gather materials for their lessons. I see this at my school for sure! Instead of using an old worksheet given to me by a colleague, I would rather go online and find a new and up to date worksheet, whereas the opposite is true for some of my colleagues.

“Teachers may be more likely to integrate computers and the Internet into their classroom instruction if they have access to adequate equipment and connections” (Smerdon, Cronen, Lanahan, Anderson, Iannotti, & Angeles, 2000). Although my first reaction to this was DUH, who wouldn’t use the equipment if they had it? I then realized that I work with a few teachers who have brand new Smart Boards in their room, yet they don’t use them at all! Maybe this quote is not as common sense as I thought.

Teacher preparation in computer use is a key factor if you want to have successful technology integration in each classroom. Two main ways for teachers to learn how to use technology is through professional development and through independent learning. Personally, I think independent learning in this situation is one of the best options and is very beneficial, although it can be time consuming.

Two main barriers to teachers using technology in their classroom is not enough computers and lack of time to learn. Here is where I have a problem. “Lack of time to learn”…..isn’t it our job to learn how to use technology so that we can teach our students how to use technology? Teaching our students the technological skills they will need for the future is of almost the same importance as teaching them their math facts or how to write in a complete sentence. The end goal for all of these skills is the same…to help them have successful futures. Therefore, I have a huge problem with teachers who are not even willing to TRY to integrate technology into their lessons. We are in the age of technology and we need to accept that and embrace it; not just for our sake, but for the sake of our students.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New Terms Brought to Light

Wilhelm, T., Carmen, D. , Reynolds, M. (2002). Connecting Kids to Technology:
Challenges and Opportunities. KIDS COUNT Snapshot. (Report No.
EFF-089). Baltimore, MD: Annie E. Casey Foundation. (ERIC Document
Reproduction Service No. 467 133)

This article by Wilhelm, Carmen and Reynolds unveiled something that I have never heard of before. It starts out like most articles dealing with the digital divide; it gives some background info. on what the digital divide is and why it’s a problem. But, it also talks about some ideas and terms I have never heard before.

Here are the main points of this article that I have read about in the past, but are still very important:

· Using computers at school is a great way to try to lessen the gap for underprivileged children, but it doesn’t solve the problem.
· Although the internet is becoming more affordable, there are still many families that do not have internet access, simply because that has become their way of life.
· Having computers at home is shown to increase reading test scores and increase overall performance in math and science.

Now, here are some of the new ideas/terms that I think make this article worth reading:

· Since computers are used world wide and are important for our student’s futures, the term “21st-centruy literacy” has been adopted – 21st-centrun literacy is “the knowledge and skills to take advantage of the new Internet-related technologies” (Wilhelm, Carmen & Reynolds, 2002, p.3)

I think this term is very fitting due to the fact that the majority of reading that takes place in our students lives on a day to day basis is what they read/type online.

· This article also points out not only the importance of kids having internet access at home, but also the importance of them being taught how to successfully and effectively use the internet. They use the term “Internet ABC’s.”

“Until we address what we are calling the Internet ABC’s – Access, Basic training, and Content – the digital divide is likely to remain a permanent feature of American society” (Wilhelm, Carmen, & Reynolds, 2002, p.4).

These two new terms, “21st-Century literacy”, and “Internet ABC’s”, make me not only think about my students and their computer use at home, but it also makes me reevaluate how I am using the internet in my own classroom. Am I incorporating enough 21st-century literacy? Am I teaching my students the ABC’s of the internet, so that they will be successful in high school and the real world? How can I revamp my classroom activities to better accommodate my students and their learning of the internet?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Andy Carvin....again!

Carvin, A. (2006, May 4). [Weblog] Does home internet access improve academic achievement?. Learning. Now. Retrieved March 18, 2008, from

This resource is another blog entry by Andy Carvin. I know I have already used one of his articles as a resource, but he just has some really great articles on his blog, I can’t resist! This entry is looking specifically at low-income children and if the use of the internet at home improves their GPA and/or their test scores.
As soon as began reading this, I knew I had to post it. This has been a question in the back of my mind for a very long time now, I just have never really wanted to admit it. I’m a huge proponent for using technology in the classroom, and I truly do believe that it improves the education of our students, but I have never had the research to back up my thoughts. Carvin’s article has just the research I have been looking for!
Thanks to the wonderful (sarcastic) state tests that we all undergo each year, I really did wonder how much using technology, specifically the internet, helps our students when it comes to testing. In my classroom, we access the reading selections that are posted online by the Ohio Department of Education. These selections and questions are set up the same as the paper ones, they are just online. The kids enjoy doing them more on the computer, just because they think it’s more fun than doing it on paper. But, other than that, does using the internet really help our students?

HomeNetToo children logged on primarily to surf the Web. Web pages are heavily text based. Thus, whether searching for information about school-related projects or searching for information about personal interests and hobbies (e.g., rock stars, movies), children who were searching the Web more were reading more, and more time spent reading may account for improved performance on standardized tests of reading and for higher GPAs, which depend heavily on reading skills.
(Carvin, 2006)

YES, it does help our students! Duh….reading comprehension…why didn’t I think of that?! When I read this, I was jumping for joy! I just KNEW that using the internet had to be of more benefit than it’s more fun for the kids. I was overjoyed to see that it can actually help students when taking the state achievement tests. Also, knowing this is a huge push with administrations and districts who have not whole-heartedly adopted the idea of using technology in the classroom. YAY!

Factors of Life

Ba, H, Tally, B, & Tsikalas, K Childrens emerging digital literacies: Investigating home computing in low and middle income families. CCT Reports, Retrieved March 18, 2008, from

The site I have to share with you today is going along the same lines as the Carvin, 2006 posting I put up the other day ( Both Carvin and this article talk about the effects of internet use on literacy levels in students. That means, for the students who don’t use the internet very often, the lack of literacy skills.

I found this article interesting because it identified, based on a study they conducted, some factors in students’ lives that help shape their computer use.

Here is a summary of what they found:

Elements of social environments that shape computer use:
1. parents attitude towards using computers
2. amount of skill and experience of parents
3. amount of leisure time
4. computer habits of peers
5. computer habits of family friends, relatives, neighbors, etc.
(Ba, Tally, & Tsikalas)

Elements of school environment that shape computer use:
1. HW assignments
“In all the schools attended by our participating children, teachers help students develop digital literacy through homework assignments” (Ba,

2. Direct instruction by teacher
For example, in the CFY partner schools, some teachers provided instruction on MS Word and on using the Internet, while in the middle-income schools, a library-media specialist offered group computer instruction on how to do an Internet search and then evaluate the information found. (Ba, et. al).


This article reiterates the effect of parents on a child’s computer use and knowledge.

Parental Education

Williamson, D. A. (2006, September 7). Students suffer a new digital divide?. Retrieved March 18, 2008, from eMarketer Web site:

This article, “Students Suffer A New Digital Divide?”, by Debra Williamson, is fairly short, but I had a sudden realization as I read it; a realization that I should have had a long time ago, but somehow didn’t. (I think my brain is just wore out J)

Williamson took information from a report put out by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), concerning the digital divide that surrounds us today. She mentions the two main factors that we hear most about when reading about the digital divide: income and race/ethnicity. However, she brought to light a new factor for me, parental education.

Now that I have this factor in my head, it makes a lot of sense. We can assume that parental education effects the type of job you have, which in turn effects your income level. So, we can somewhat infer that the two factors might be related, although not in all cases.

Two main points I took from this article are as follows:

· “…among US students Internet use may be influenced strongly by parental income and education level” (Williamson, 2006).
· “Schools play an important role in bridging and eventually eliminating the various digital divides. ‘Students are more likely to use the Internet at school than at home when they have any of several characteristics: Hispanic or Black race/ethnicity, no parent who attended college, a single-mother head of household, a Spanish monolingual household, or family income below $35,000 per year,’ (NCES) " (Williamson, 2006).

The chart shown below is a great visual representation of how the digital divide is affected by parental education level.

(Williamson, 2006)

This whole idea of parental education level relates to my students A LOT! Many of my students have parents who didn’t even graduate from high school, let alone college or higher. That factor alone doesn’t mean that you will be in poverty and not technologically advanced, but when that factor leads to the parents not working, not valuing education, and not seeing a need for technology, then it becomes a problem.

Some thoughts that always enter my mind, but now are at the forefront, are: Is lack of education a cycle in some families? Are my students going to be able to rise above their parents beliefs against education and get a good education for themselves? Is this just one huge trap that some kids are in?

How sad…’s even more sad that I can see the faces of specific kids from my classes that might possible be caught in this trap forever. What can I do to help them?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Andy Carvin's Blog

Carvin, A (2007, July 25). [Weblog] The you tube debate: Shining more light on schools, filters and the digital divide. Retrieved March 15, 2008, from

The link posted above is for Andy Carvin’s blog page. After reading a few of his entries, I chose to use this one…for now. I really like his topics and how he approaches them.
The reason I chose to go with this entry is because he takes the idea of schools teaching technology, one step farther. Carvin talks about how it IS the school’s job to educate our students about technology and it’s benefits in today’s society. However, he goes into a topic that is rarely touched on, but has actually been a huge issue at my school this year. Some schools, depending on your resources, are limited to how much technology they can teach. They might not have the right software, or maybe not even enough computers. However, even if you do have computers, there are still some setbacks for teachers who are trying to introduce their students to all that the internet has to offer.
Carvin brings up the issue of filters on school computers. Are the necessary? I would have to say YES, based on the fact that the kids are not able to access inappropriate material while working on the computers. However, they can keep students from accessing material that is not harmful, and is good for them to learn to use. One example of this at my school is You Tube. I totally understand that there are many inappropriate things on You Tube, that students shouldn’t be accessing at school. But, there are also many educational videos on there, that could be shown by the teacher. I had a video on the Vietnam war from You Tube that I wanted to show earlier this year. The problem is that You Tube is blocked on even the teacher computers. In order to remove the block you have to email the tech. guy (we only have one tech. guy for the entire district) and ask him to come to your room and enter a password, which only he knows. By the time he actually gets around to responding or coming to your classroom, it’s about two weeks later. And, if you did time it right and he makes it to your room, he’s mad because he has to stay there all day….when he unlocks the firewall, it only stays unlocked for one hour. So, he has to stick around to unlock it three different times for me (once for each of my three classes). And this is all depending on if he even responds to your email at all. Which usually, after the first time, he conveniently doesn’t respond any more.
All of this makes me think of the digital divide on a whole other level, smaller that that of the “have and have nots” of the internet. Will there ever be a surefire solution? If so, at what cost?

I just thought this article was really interesting and wanted to share it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Gap (not the store) :)

Long, C (2008, March). Mind the gap. NEA Today, [26 (6)], Retrieved March 15, 2008, from

This is a great article! I actually first read this article in the “NEA Today” magazine I get each month, then searched for it online so that I could post it for everyone to read on here.

This article is specific to the United States and how the digital divide, or “gap” as they call it, effects students across different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. This article caught my attention right away because it starts out by describing a 16 year old boy who has his own computer and is online all the time, chatting, watching or posting videos, updating his blog, and many other things. Much like what most of us do all the time J! Then, it goes right into the exact opposite side of the spectrum. The article then goes on to describe a boy who has to drive 40 miles to get to a community center, so that he can use the internet for do research on colleges and students loans. How crazy is that! Most of us reading this probably couldn’t even imagine not having a computer in our own house and having to go to the library to use one. Let alone having to drive 40 miles to get there! Right away, this article hit the nail on the head with how the digital divide effects our students every day. We, as teachers with constant internet access, may not really realize the intensity of these effects on our students. Are they really getting hit harder by the divide than even we realize? YES!
What are some of the differences between students who have internet access readily available and those who don’t? “Students with round-the-clock; high-speed Internet access have more opportunity not only to be content consumers, but also content creators with a global audience – they have the chance to be ‘publishers, movie makers, artists, song creators, and story tellers’ ”(Rainie, as cited in Long, 2008). As you can see, there are HUGE differences between students who use technology and students who don’t. What really makes me sad, is that I don’t think the students who don’t get to use technology every day, even know what they are missing out on. They feel like they are fine just the way they are, and they really don’t know what their life would be like with constant internet access. We, as avid internet users, know that their life would be more informed, enlightened, and would span across more areas then just the small towns they live it. They would become more cultured, well-rounded individuals with a broader knowledge base to take with them on their future conquests.
“The more opportunity young people have to play around online, the more their experience and comfort with technology grows. They’re becoming digital innovators who will increasingly integrate technology into their everyday lives and use it to shape the future” (Long, 2008). Isn’t that what we want for our students? Don’t we want to better prepare them for the future and give them the tools they need so that they can go out into the real world and be successful? That is definitely our job! A teacher in today’s world needs to prepare his or her students technologically, if they want them to be successful in the future. That is what our world revolves around and it’s going to continue to be that way for years to come.

“Technology is too big a part of our world for kids to now know the most simple stuff, …that’s where you find the gap – it’s where kids can’t go online to just mess around, find stuff, explore. Kids want to know about technology. They want to know how it all works and what it can do. It’s everywhere, it’s the future” (Long, 2008).

Monday, March 17, 2008

Campbell, D (2001). Can the digital divide be contained?. International Labour Review, [140 (2)], Retrieved March 12, 2008, from

The article link shown above, “Can the digital divide be contained?”, by Duncan Campbell, looks at the digital divide across countries, such as developed versus developing countries. Although I am focusing more on the divide between people of different socio economic status, I still felt that Campbell’s article was interesting and very important. In order to understand the digital divide on a smaller scale, I believe that it helps to see if from a larger scale as well.
Although this article tells a lot of information that I don’t particularly feel is important to my quest of better understanding the digital divide among my own students, I do feel that the first part of his article was very interesting and relevant. He focuses a lot on the internet use and it’s effects in the United States, versus other countries. Seeing the big pictures really helped me to see it on a smaller scale as well. When looking at the graph posted on pg. 120, "Estimated number of internet users..." (Campbell, 2001, p.120), you can see the growth of internet users in the U.S. from 99 to 00. However, you can also see the huge divide between the numbers in the U.S. and the numbers in other countries. This was astounding to me! I knew the U.S. was up there, but I wasn’t aware of by how much they were up there! I couldn’t believe it.
What struck home with me is the fact that Africa has made hardly any gains from 1999 to 2000. What does this have to do with the divide on a smaller scale. Well, this made me think about my district, the surrounding town, and Cincinnati, as it’s own little “world”. You have the higher income areas around here that are like the United States. They are well developed, have laptops in every classroom, for every student, and have all the latest technological advances. Then, you have rural areas like Bethel (where I teach), and others, who are the “Africa” of the group. We have some technology, but it hasn’t grown very much in the five years I’ve been here. Also, we have nothing compared to the wealthier districts.
I really feel that all the principals that apply to the digital divide across the world, really apply in the same fashion to the digital divide right here where I live. I have never thought about it in this sense before. Very interesting!
My question now is, what steps are we taking to help the technologically undeveloped countries advance? And can we use those same steps on a smaller scale in rural districts, such as Bethel?

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Lehrer, J (1999, September 17). Digital Divide. Online News Hour, Retrieved March 11, 2008, from

Although the article linked above is a little bit dated (it’s talking about the emergence of hi-speed internet access), it does bring up the issue of people who don’t have the technology resources they need, in order to become in tune with the online world.

One area with in the concept of the digital divide that I would like to focus on is how the lack of technological resources affects students. When thinking about this issue in the perspective of some of my students, I’m focusing more along the lines of children who are living in poverty. However, this interview brings up the idea of students who are even worse off than just poverty. Lehrer talks about (and to) families living on Indian reservations who don’t have running water and just recently got electricity, meaning that a phone line and computer access isn’t even a blip on the radar right now.

This interview also focuses on the program called E-Rate, which provides internet access to many schools. This article really got me thinking about government funding for technology, and how much more I wish they would do J (don’t all teachers?)! Considering this interview was done in 1999, things have hopefully improved since then….although not for everyone. Does this mean that things will improve even more as time goes on? Or will government money not be spent on technology any more? No one can predict the future, but I can say that I would hope the government is able to see how important it is for schools to be “technologically sound.” Our student’s futures depend on it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Startling Statistics

Riley, D (2007, May 6). [Weblog] America: The growing digital divide. TechCrunch. Retrieved March 11, 2005, from

Yesterday I was talking about how the lack of computer use in the classroom is detrimental to our students, especially those who don't have computer access at home. To stay on that same track, I decided to share the blog link posted above, "America: The Growing Digital Divide," by Duncan Riley. This blog shares some very startling statistics about the technology use in America. "31% of Americans are considered to be 'Elite Tech Users', where as 49% have few tech assets, either engaging with the online world only on occasion, or not at all" (Riley, 2007).

I was truly shocked by these numbers! I knew there were people out there that didn't use the internet as much as others, but I never would have guessed that number was as high as 49%!

This blog also has a great link to a study done by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which shows even more astonishing statistics, if you are interested in seeing them.

I have so many questions running through my mind right now, and it's really hard for me to grasp the fact that so few people take advantage of the great resources we have available to use through the use of the internet. Is the lack of use contributed to age? Or to ability level? Or are people just not interested and feel they are fine the way the are? What percentage of that 49% is due to factors such as lack of technology resources? Hopefully, throughout my journey on this blog, I will find answers to these questions!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mixed Interruptations

Riba, E (2002, November). The digital divide. Retrieved March 11, 2008, from Elisabeth Riba Web site:

Above is the link to an article titled "The Digital Divide," by Elisabeth Riba. Although my focus is on the digital divide between students of different socioeconomic status, we all know that the "divide" is not just made up of that one category. The "digital divide is a term used to describe the inequality between technology haves and have nots" (Riba, 2002). This divide could be between countries, races, age groups, socioeconomic status, rural and inner city, and many more. In reality, for my area of concentration, I think that the divide between rural and age groups strongly affects the divide between socioeconomic status in my district.

That being said, I chose to start with this article because I think it does a really good job of summing up the idea of the "digital divide" as a whole. Riba also makes a great point in saying that the "divide" can't necessarily be solved by giving computer access to everyone. This plays into the divide of age groups. Just because people have computers, doesn't mean they are going to use them. "According to Lenhart's 2000 Pew report, only 39% of non-Internet users thought they were missing out on things by not being online. 51% didn't think they were missing anything and 10% weren't sure" (Riba, 2002). 51% is an insanely large number of people who think that the internet is not important. For me, that is very hard to believe, considering the amount of time and the amount of information I get from the internet on a daily basis. I honestly don't know what I would do without the internet anymore!

So, how does all of this relate to education and the use of the internet in the classroom you ask? Well, in order to even get technology into the classroom, which is the only place that some of my students even get the chance to use the internet, you have to have teachers who are willing to use technology, regardless of how often they use it on their own. In this day and age, it's crucial for our students to be computer proficient if they are to succeed in the real world. Isn't that our goal as teachers, to help them succeed? In today's world, computer skills are a must for success to even glimmer in our students' futures.

I leave you with a fantastic quote from Riba, regarding teaching technology to our students, "Many people choose not to read for pleasure, however the schools still ensured that everyone learned basic literacy. That's how we need to think of the digital divide" (Riba, 2002).

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Blog Overview

Hello, and welcome to my blog page! This blog is devoted to the use of technology in today's classroom, which is a topic I am very passionate about. The whole concept of using technology in the classroom is a very broad topic; one that we could talk about for years to come. To narrow down our conversations, I want to focus more on the use of the internet in the classroom and how it affects all students differently, based on their socioeconomic status. This concept is often referred to as the "digital divide", meaning the technology gap that exists between students of different socioeconomic backgrounds. This area of focus is very important to anyone who teaches in a district where you have students from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, such as the district where I teach. It's a fact about your students that you have to constantly think about, so that you can plan your assignments and projects around the fact that not everyone is on the same technological level. But what about the future of these students, who are on the down side of the technology gap? How will the lack of technology knowledge affect their years in high school and their future? What can we, as teachers, do about this? These are some questions I am looking forward to finding answers to. I hope you will enjoy this blog and choose to participate in the discussions that I'm sure will arise.