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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What is the new Digital Divide?

The Digital Divide, not so long ago, represented the dichotomy between the haves and the have-nots: who had ownership and/or access to computer technologies and who did not. The divide was generally economic. Those who could afford computers, had them in the home. School districts whose budgets allotted for technology, had it.

This divide still exists to some degree, though most schools and most homes have some sort of connectivity and some sort of device....Today's Digital Divide is not only about access for students, it's also about teacher skills and training. As educators, our charge is to prepare students to make use of emerging digital technologies in meaningful and in safe ways. Educators have opportunities to join their students in cyberspace and help them use the tools effectively to prepare for their futures. Students whose teachers lack training in the effective use of digital technologies and in the requirements of those technologies for the workplace of the future are today's "have nots."

Teachers need training and support. They need access to resources. NASA's Endeavor program offers teachers fellowships through their Science Teaching Certificate Project. Highly competitive, about 50 teachers across the country are currently involved. The program is administered by the U.S. Satellite Laboratory, Inc. and provides graduate credit courses through regional higher ed partners and participation in the NASA Endeavor Certificate in S.T.E.M. Education from the Teachers College at Columbia University.

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