Digital Inequality

Gamma Group’s presentation on the Digital Divide was a novel challenge, since it was a first in online group work for me. The outcome of our efforts appears at:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Before this assignment, I used the terms “Digital Divide” and “Digital Inequality”  interchangeably- just two ways of saying the same thing.  The position put forward by DiMaggio and Hargittai (2001) declares the digital divide as the gap between those who have and those who have no access to technology or as well as those who choose not to use technology in everyday life.  However, with Digital Inequality, access is not the only basis of disparity, but it exists even among persons who have formal access to the internet.

So then, as discussed in our Voicethread, if access was the only reason for the gulf, then the problem was easily “solved”  by providing more computers and internet access. However, will the resources be used productively to reduce the perceived difference between the privileged and disadvantaged?  Further more, as technologies evolve, and rapidly too,  will poorer or otherwise disadvantaged communities be able to keep pace? If they cannot, then the gap will widen even more.

What has impacted me most in this assignment was realizing that to maximize the benefits from information and communications technologies, several factors are critical. These are:

  • having technical parity (re equipment, software connections);
  • support from the technical right down to the emotional level;
  • the levels of restrictions on use;
  • the skills and awareness of how to use;
  • and having a clear purpose for use of the technologies.

Without factoring these in, the technological thrust espoused by the National Education Technology Plan (2010) will not be achieved.

This Digital Inequality scenario demonstrated diffusion of innovation AECT Standard 3.2. The members of my group and I devised a strategy to reduce digital inequality among people in the state of Idaho which we had to communicate to the authorities for them to adopt.

In this scenario, we suggested cloud based centralized data center for the state.  This would create a system supporting effective and ethical utilization of instructional technology products and processes meeting requirements for Policies and regulations AECT Standard 3.4.

Having to plan and evaluate how financial resources, personnel, systems and services would be deployed supported the AECT standard Resource Management 4.2.   With $50 million to reduce state-wide digital inequality,  resources had to be carefully considered so have the best long term impact.


Emerging Learning Technologies/Digital Divide (Wikibooks) Retrieved from…tal_Divide

DiMaggio, P., & Hargittai, E. (2001). From the ‘digital divide’ to ‘digital inequality:’
Studying Internet use as penetration increases.
Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, Working Paper Series number, 15.
Retrieved from – DiMaggio+Hargittai.pdf

National Educational Technology Plan 2010 Retrieved from

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