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The digital divide has taken on a new meaning. Previously, it referred to the areas of the country that relies beyond the reach of high-speed broadband Internet. We referred to them as being unfortunate enough to be "on the wrong side" of the digital divide. All of America still does not have high-speed broadband Internet, one reason why millions of Americans continue to use dial-up Internet today. But now the digital divide has taken on a new meaning, as technology becomes so heavily integrated into schools that the whole idea of the digital divide has gotten flipped on its head.
Back in October, the New York Times ran an article titled "The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected". The caption reads "America’s public schools are still promoting devices with screens — even offering digital-only preschools. The rich are banning screens from class altogether."
Yes, you read that right! The rich are banning screens altogether! Should this really come as much surprise, though? Tech moguls like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have, after all, limited their own children's technology use. Many teachers to whom I've posed the question have confirmed this firsthand: standardized test scores have dropped significantly since 1:1 technology was introduced in schools. It's not just academic or even psychological though: there are now plenty of physiological effects caused by young people's hyper-use of technology.
Certainly, technology skills, particularly use of a computer, will continue to be important in our electronic world. But the hype surrounding "21st century learning" is simply fabricated by big tech companies like Apple and Google to sell tablets and Chromebooks (a.k.a useless not-a-PC laptops) to schools, to boost their bottom line by whatever means they can.
Food for thought…