Didactical Tool: Digital Divide

Authors: Christa Markom, Jelena Tošić, Magdalena Steger
Tags: Digital Gender Gap Digital Age Gap Digital Queer Gap Digitalisation Digital Inclusin Digital Literacy

Today people must deal with the digital world in many parts of daily life. Areas such as healthcare, school, banks, government, and libraries are using ICT (information- and communication technology), which thus becomes a necessary instrument for citizens to use the respective services. In order to do this, they must know how e.g., to use and access internet browsing, emails, blogs, or social networks. However, not everyone has this knowledge. That is how the Digital Divide or digital gap appears. 

What is it about?

As a first step, teachers should read the concepts of Digital Divide, Digital Age Gap, Digital Gender Gap, and Digital Queer Gap on digitclue.net. They should note the most important aspects as well as focus on topics, which are important for their students. In the following examples you can find different tasks that you can try and think about. It is possible to do it on your own, as well as with your students.

Try it out

Example 1:

Use Apps like Mural or Power Point to create a mind map which shows the differences and similarities of the concepts you have read. Discuss the mind map as well as the concepts with your pupils. You can use the following questions:

  • Which reasons can you imagine people not having access to digital media?
  • Can you imagine any situation, where people actively don’t want access to digital media?
  • Which people may have difficulties using digital media?
  • Is there something you would add to the concept of Digital Divide or an aspect, which is missing?

After discussing the concepts in class, the pupils should think about the statements made in the written concepts of Digital Divide, Digital Age Gap, Digital Gender Gap, and Digital Queer Gap. From their own point of view, can they confirm what the concepts are saying about the different gaps, or did they face other situations? For example, is it true for their family, that the younger members can use digital media in a more extensive way than the older ones? The idea is to reflect on the statements and see if they are true in the context of the pupils’ lives or if they are prejudices.

Example 2:

Before reading and/or discussing the concept of Digital Divide, the students should work with the term in an artistic way. The pupils should present the concept of Digital Divide, as well as their own experiences and thoughts on it, graphically. For that they should use the program “Paint”, which is often preinstalled on computers. As an online tool you can use “Tinyimage”, which you can find under the following link: https://www.tinyimage.de/. Alternatives could be PowerPoint, Word, or Adobe.

After drawing/painting the term, the pictures should be discussed in class. The students should explain what they have thought about. As a last step, the teachers should present the concept of Digital Divide on digitclue.net. In class there should be a discussion on both the differences and similarities between the concepts on the website and the ideas from the pupils.

Example 3:

The concept of Digital Divide should be presented and discussed in class. For better understanding it is possible to also present the concepts of Digital Gender Gap, Digital Queer Gap, and Digital Age Gap. For this exercise it is important that the students know what Digital Divide is about. After that, the pupils should think about one person, who is affected by the Digital Divide (it can also be a person, who voluntarily chooses not to use the Digital). The pupils should write a short story, from the person’s point of view, describing the situation, the reasons, the feelings, etc.

Tell your colleagues

After working with and discussing on the concepts with the students, you can share their creative work with colleagues all over the world. For this, you can share the created art on Digital Divide on the Digital Inclusion Map found on the Website of DigitClue. The D.I. Map is a map of the world, where users can share projects, materials, ideas, and comments on digital inclusion in their own country.

Thinking further

You now have thought and discussed about the Digital Divide from your own perspective, as well as from the perspective of the students. You have learnt that the Digital Divide means something different for everyone. Depending on the people the Digital Divide causes other challenges. Now we invite you to think about this topic from another perspective.

Imagine meeting a person from the 17th century, who doesn’t know anything about new technology and the Digital Divide. How would this person see our digital world and the Digital Divide? Which questions could he or she have, and how would you answer them? Can you think about some advice for this person, how he or she could avoid the Digital Divide when returning to the 17th century?