DIGITAL DIVIDE | DIGITAL FITNESS

Combating the Digital Divide and

Promoting Digital Literacy in America

Helping The Community

What is the Digital Divide?

 

"The economic, educational, and social inequalities between those who have computers and online access

and those who do not," 

says Merriam-Webster.

UA3 has the team, the skills and the experience to equip students, families, faculty and facilities with technology, digital environments, advanced pedagogy and tech support to give everyone the digital keys to the future.

"In a society where increasingly we are defined by access to information and what we earn is what we learn, if you don't have access to technology, you're going to be left in the digital dark ages. That's what the digital divide is all about."

William Kennard, Federal Communications Commission

We build a foundation of technological skills and digital thinking that will be learned in Pre-K and last a lifetime. Technology will not be going away. It will be a utility for the future...for work, life, play...and support lifelong learning.   

 

To work in the automated and robotic world, tech expertise must start early in life and technology will become a utility like light bulbs and electricity; UA3 is at the genesis of this trend.

Digital technologies have boosted economic growth, expanded employment and educational opportunities, and improved business, health and education.   However, the huge societal improvements from using these technologies have lagged behind for some, and the combined impact has distributed unevenly across the country. For digital tech to reach the "tipping point" of universal acceptance requires closing the digital divide, especially in internet access and in depressed areas. But simple, basic tech is not a panacea; it's more complex a problem.

Access to information, computers and the Internet is critical for today's world and especially for our younger generations. Those that are tech-savvy with computers and networks are becoming even better-off economically, physically and socially through the power of information and connectivity. Those with the ability to use technology at a higher level are at an even greater advance. While the ones without are being left behind. A huge pool of resources to grow our economy and improve our society is being left behind.

A Stanford University report states that, "The digital divide will not close unless there is an initiative to seal the gap. With socio-economic divisions already present in today's society, the digital divide is compounding the effects. It is not just the cost of computers that results in the digital divide, but also the presence of widespread (digital) illiteracy among overlooked populations." The gap is expanding, and nothing will stop it unless we do something real and substantial.  And it is not just handing out computers but having the training, educational programs and apps, the rooms and environments, and especially the tech support to keep it all working. Rural vs. Urban location, broadband access, gender, race, immigration status, socio-economic factors all play a role in limited technology access and understanding. 

"This is serious. It’s really a social justice issue. It’s a 21st century civil rights issue.” 

Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, deputy director of strategic initiatives at the Kansas City Public Library. In Kansas City, 80 percent of households in low-income, minority neighborhoods don’t own computers or have in-home Internet connections.

Schools need to do even more at an earlier age to close the gap and bridge the divide.  From Jonathan Kendall, et al., and the peer-reviewed Society of College and University Planners (SCUP) Journal article, he says "during the last 50 years, traditional education practices, which have presumed telling is teaching and listening is learning, have been profoundly impacted by the explosion of new knowledge and the technology to support it. The response of many faculty members to the rapidly expanding body of new knowledge and the collateral compression in the half-life of prior knowledge has been to cram and dispense more content into class time (Paul and Elder 2001; Spence 2001). In an attempt to cope with the ever-increasing onslaught of information with seemingly little meaning or contextual sense, students have responded by engaging in bulimic learning practices: cramming and purging. This largely passive educational approach motivates and rewards students who are proficient at memorizing and recalling information with little regard for their ability to think with it, apply it, or transfer it to other contexts. Thus, these students may receive higher grades, but, unfortunately, too few develop the capacity to think critically with the knowledge and transfer or relate it to other relevant contexts. Fewer yet have gained an appreciation for the contexts in which the knowledge can be applied or misapplied. It should not be much of a surprise that these practices do little to advance higher-order thinking, knowledge transfer, and synthesis (Lemke 2003; Weimer 2002).  This is what technology can support...real learning and complex thinking skill development. Don't repackage the educational experience with technology, redefine it."

Acquiring the technology skills and mindset to enter today's and tomorrow's digital workplace and succeed is critical in the 21st Century.  Talented, motivated workers need more than motivation, they need the right skills and tools to create a lifetime career of meaningful and important work.  The Digitalist says that "real-time analysis, together with emerging digital technologies and intelligent digital processes, have upended the workplace as we know it; and businesses are today subject to a deep cultural shift in work organization, culture and management mind set." This impact is a shift towards workers looking at information through a technological analysis tools.  The highest order thinking is human, but digital content and data will be much more important in the decision process.  This could lead to explosive job growth through  on the correct side of the digital divide.  Time is of the essence, let's close the gap forever.

UA3 is the leading non-profit organization whose goal is to channel monetary, human and technology resources to solve real issues facing our community.  Our primary focus is the appropriate integration of technology into socio-economically challenged communities in urban, suburban and rural America to build a stronger, better educated society. We bridge the digital divide.

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