What is the Digital Divide?
Digital divide (dig·i·tal di·vide) - Inequality of access to information technology: the difference in opportunities available to people who have access to modern information technology and those who do not (dictionary.com).
The Digital Divide
According to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (2004) report, Falling through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide, the digital divide is defined as “the disparities in access to telephones, personal computers (PCs), and the Internet across certain demographic groups” (p. 1). Lloyd Morrisett coined the term digital divide to mean “a discrepancy in access to technology resources between socioeconomic groups’’ (Robyler, 2003, p. 191). People excluded or segregated from access to information technology are also excluded from many other social goods. Thorsen (2006) defines the digital divide as “a popular term for the cultural barrier that of people who do not have access to technology and the Internet or the ability to use them effectively if they are available” (p.11). This includes not just access to technology, but also access to computer skills training, information technology, various economic opportunities, and the ability to fully participate in culture and democracy (Johnson, 2009).
How Big is it?
Virtually all U.S. schools are connected to the Internet. The gaps in Internet usage between whites and minorities, though sizable, are smaller during the school day. That's not the case at home. Some 54% of white students use the Internet at home, compared with 26% of Hispanic and 27% of black youngsters. Limited access at home can erode a student's ability to research assignments, explore college scholarships or just get comfortable going online (usatoday.com).