The digital divide occurs on a small scale (within cities) to a global scale (first world counties compared to third world countries). I am currently situated in Northern Ontario and we do have high-speed internet but located another 30 minutes North, there is only dial-up connections available. This is on a much smaller scale than a global digital divide, but this still has to be taken into account when the local university here offers online courses to students. The university needs to be mindful of the small things such as having large downloads and offering streaming video. It is a reminder that while there is so much technology at one’s fingertips, not everyone has this luxury. The argument has been brought up by large companies that the internet has become a necessity and it is no longer a luxury but on a global scale, this has not been deemed true. The One Child One Laptop (Previously known as the “$100 laptop) has been on a mission to bring technology to everyone in the world (http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Home) but they are far from their goal.
Most believe the technology is already out there but this is not the case. The internet by the end of 2010 will reach 2 billion people. While this is a very large number, it is roughly only 30% of the world (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101019/wr_nm/us_telecoms_internet). While the talk may be that the internet is a necessity, we mustn’t forget that education should be the highest priority. Everyone should have the right to education and this needs to be addressed first and foremost (not including other necessities such as food and clean water). The technology field and education field can work together and possibly solve two problems in hopes to resolve the global digital divide.
Online learning is a great tool that combines technology and education but it can only reach 30% of the world. While the focus may be on helping other countries with this divide, we cannot forget about helping ourselves. Poverty in cities and location are a big factor (especially in Northern Canada) and we must solve this divide too. Online learning brings the benefit of solving the educational divide and helps tremendously with digital divide.
The digital divide does not have a solution in the near future but we can continue to make progress towards it.