I just found this essay I wrote back in August 2008 for a class that focused on the Digital Divide. I had to explain what the DD was. Not my best work, not a fan of homework assignments 😉 So in honor of Spring Training starting yesterday I decided to share:
What is the digital divide?
As a Boston Red Sox fan I love nothing more than to see the NY Yankee’s lose. Until this year, it seemed impossible. If you ask any baseball fan to explain to you why the Yankee’s are constant winners they will tell you one thing: George Steinbrenner. He is not just the back of a man’s head from Seinfeld, he is a real person and owner of the Yankee’s. Since his ownership the Yankee’s have won 6 World Series! It is not because he is a good motivator, it is because he is worth $1.3 billion and uses that money to buy talent for “his” team. No other company has the financial backing to spend on talent than the NY Yankee’s. You will never see the Oriole’s win the number of pennants, unless someone decides to fork out the money Steinbrenner does. Years ago the government stepped in an issued a salary cap, and anyone who goes over the “cap” must pay a “luxury tax.” Even with the government stepping in, the Yankee’s still have a way around paying the players. Every year the Yankee’s spend what ever they want on player’s salaries, then just pay the luxury tax. (yeah I know the Red Sox did, too.) So the team with the most money and the team that uses it wisely wins – again.
This is what the digital divide is like. It is the Yankee’s module. Those with the most, wins. The countries, or even communities (when looking at a small model) with the most money or even resources get the better technology than those who have less. The government can step in (like with the salary cap), but there will never be equalness across lines.
The school I work in is a wonderful example of the digital divide. Of our three feeder schools, one is considered urban where the other two are rural/suburban. I had kids in my class last year who did not know where the “start” menu on windows was, while others ask me to be their MySpace friend and text me questions constantly. In my classroom it is not so much a race issue, but a socio-economic issue. The students who parents are middle class (or higher) are the “haves,” while some of my children who do not have running water or electricity in their homes are the “have-nots.” Luckily they all will get the same education while in the school, but once they go home, different situations await them.
As educators we must do the best we can while we have these “have-nots” in our classroom. Schools MUST level the playing field, they have no excuse not to. Who knows, that “have-not” sitting up front may be like the 2001 Diamondbacks who beat the Yankees for the championship.