Digital Literacy And The Public Education

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Discussion Post #4

How important is ‘digital literacy’ considered to be in our current public education? How important do you think digital literacy is?
The American Library Association defines digital literacy as the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills. This definition is important to the discussion of the digital divide, defined by Morse (2004) as “inequitable use of computer technology” (p. 268). We learned from our readings that the divide between lower SES students and their wealthier counterparts in terms of first, access to technology (hardware, software, broadband Internet) and second, what Banister and Fischer (2010) called the “opportunity for use” (p. 3). With increased government funding over the past two decades, schools have seen access to technology improve. Warschauer and Matuchniak (2011) explained the significance of the federal government 's e-Rate program, which has provided a whopping $2 billion per year for broadband and Internet access for schools (p. 188). Yet the softer costs, such as technical support staff, and which are not funded by the federal government mean that even when the infrastructure and actual hardware and software are present, teachers and students may be unable to access them. The interesting divide is also largely based on SocioEconomic Status: the opportunity for use of technology. The expectations for
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