Computers Alone Can’t Bridge The Digital Gap

Here’s an interesting article on an older theme which relays that technology integration throughout society must be focused on much more than simply making the technology available.

Like many countries, it seems that Argentina suffers from a digital divide, especially between cities with ubiquituous access, to rural areas with poor access.

A survey conducted by the software giant Microsoft found that almost eight million people in Argentina, a country of 37 million, regularly surf the Internet and use e-mail, a higher proportion than the majority of Latin American countries. However, the use of this technology is overwhelmingly concentrated in the country’s cities.

And, as the article argues, there is little hope in bridging this gap unless there are individuals who are increasingly literate with new digital and information technologies who can spread this knowledge to the masses. So what is Argentina doing about?

One example …

To ensure the necessary training, the ministry has signed an agreement with the country’s public universities, which will offer courses on classroom use of new information technologies to some 15,000 primary and secondary school teachers.

And another …

There are 1,350 CTCs (Community Technology Centres) throughout the country, which the state has supplied with both computer equipment and training for technical and teaching staff. The host institutions include schools, churches, libraries, fire halls, municipal authorities and NGOs.

And the quote of the day:

In order to bridge this gap, the solution does not lie in the acquisition of equipment, but rather in the assimilation of this tool by the members of the community, since this is the way to ensure that its use will contribute to transforming reality.

One thought on “Computers Alone Can’t Bridge The Digital Gap

  1. Yeah, that’s true. In Argentina. Today. We’ve been saying that for at least 20 years. What’s interesting to me is that I’m not sure it’s true anymore. I remember being outraged 10 years ago about computers that sat in boxes for months because there was no one at the school who felt qualified to take the things out of the box, much less make them do something useful. For a time, having actual children touch computers was problematic for some for fear that they’d break them. I argued then that the real problem was that the computers would not get broken soon enough and wouldn’t get replaced.

    The rest of my argument is on my blog.

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