THE PARTICIPATION GAP IS NARROWING
December 3, 2014
An article (“The Participation Gap/A Conversation with media expert and MIT Professor Henry Jenkins”) and published by the National Education Association, tells us:
What is the “participation gap” and how does it relate to the digital divide?
“The digital divide mostly referred to the gap in access to technology in American schools and libraries. The goal over the last two decades was to provide every student access to networked computing. That challenge has largely been met — most American young people have access to the Internet through schools and libraries.
The participation gap takes it to the next level. When developing cultural competencies, there is a big difference between having access only in a library or at school. There’s a huge gap between what students with 24/7 broadband access can do and what students can do when their only access is through the public library or a school computer lab, where there are often time limits on how long they can work, when there are filters blocking access to certain sites, and when there are limits on their ability to store, download and upload material. This leads to a gap in skills and competencies.”
Similarly, The Washington Post has reported that, “. . . we are now confronted with the “participation gap,” as explained by Dr. Henry Jenkins, a professor at the University of Southern California.
“. . . There’s a huge gap between what you can do when you’ve got unlimited access to broadband in your home and what you can do when your only access is through the public library, where there are often time limits on how long you can work, when there are already federally mandated filters blocking access to certain sites, when there are limits on your ability to store and upload material, and so forth.”
Dr. Jenkins has succinctly summarized the issue, “Those with home access have a big advantage because they’ll have ample time to develop social networking, research and other skills necessary to succeed later on.”
With the proliferation of tablets and smartphones, the gap has been lessening. But, we must never forget that economic disparity and home internet access keep the opportunity-playing field from being level.
More on Monday – – – – –
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(Mondays & Wednesdays)
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