Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Digital Divide

I have always know that a digital divide exists among our school staff. We have teachers who are ready to use whatever technology is put in front of them and teachers who need lots of help or are unwilling to implement technology. It was not until this past week when we were at a national conference as a staff that the digital divide really stood out.

Those of us on one side of the digital divide went into the event with a presentation on Online Student Collaboration and plans to organize a Tweetup. We were really devastated by the lack of wifi available, however; we did not let the lack of wifi affect back channeling. We still used our cell phones to follow Twitter as closely as possible. We were excited about the opportunity to meet other people that we follow on Twitter. We were even more excited when we got someone new to try Twitter.

This is probably where the divide really became noticeable to me. We were excited to share with other people but we weren't sharing with our other colleagues. We were connected to other people while they were connected to each other. They shared their breakout sectional experiences with each other between sessions, at dinner, and in the evenings. Whereas, we shared our experiences as they were going on. We were continuously connected with each other even though we weren't in the same sessions.

Now leaving the conference we are back to our normal routines but have we increased our digital divide by isolating the others on the other side or have we spurred their interest to cross the bridge.

How has your use of technology changed what you get out of a conference or other professional development?

*Picture: Dunloe Gap Valley Mountain Valley. amanderson2. 7 Feb 2009. CreativeCommons License


  1. Just about every time I go to a conference I come away enriched and enthusiastic, and it is amazing to me how refreshing it all is. The continuous connection seems to add to the quality of these events, though I sometimes wonder if I miss points or ideas because I am so busy sharing the last good thought.

    Each time I return to school with new skills to share and fresh ideas, and like you I always have a few power users who are just waiting for me to bring something new to them. I wish someone would do a conference or workshop on how to expertly nudge the people who need more support and encouragement.

    Great blog

    Marti W

  2. @Marti I would love a conference to learn how to expertly nudge the people who need more support

  3. Another thought: Technology allows us to "be" at conferences we don't physically attend. So while there is still great value in personal attendance, there also is the opportunity to learn from other sessions. Or, in the case of ISTE, I don't agonize as much about what session to attend, knowing I can pick up ideas from other sessions easily through Twitter or the resources posted on the ISTE site.

    1. At ISTE you can definitely learn more by following other people's posts and tweets.

      Do you have any thoughts on how to help those who aren't using Twitter to feel more connected and engaged at LEA?

      Are you going to LEA?