Friday, October 17, 2008

Digital Divide/Chasm Rut

Sometimes I get stuck in the Digital Divide or Digital Chasm rut. Like many techies...I lead by example, share knowledge with those who want to learn, and get frustrated when someone says, "Can you print that for me...I don't do email".

With the military, you live the motto, "Adapt, Implement, and Overcome" and "Do more with less". As a signal soldier, the motto is, "You can talk about us...but not without us". As a parent, I raised a child not to fear technology but to embrace and explore it. So in her circle, she is like a techy Dr. Phil gadget girl.

As a daughter, I encourage my mother to incorporate technology daily. We weaned her from AOL and hooked her on Google. I challenge her to learn something new every day, from reading a Google Tip of the Day to hitting the F1 key to read some tidbit of a help file. She keeps up with her grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews through MySpace.

With the multiple moves in the military, my daughter has been in and out of schools in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Alaska. The varying degrees of integrated technology for students and parents is frustrating. Now as a college student she is required to function with technology. She does not fear technology. She may not understand how all of it works...yet...but she isn't afraid to point, click, dig below the user interface, and ask questions.

We have worked with her high school and one of the most frustrating experiences is the lack of effective communication at all levels. At times, I feel much like the students...everyone is talking around us, over us, under us...but not to us. I hear..."Its on the website", "I don't have time to do email", or "I don't have time to learn something new technology I have to do ________ (whatever)". But I thought the RCSS mission statement is, "Learning Today...Leading Tomorrow...educating students to become lifelong learners and productive citizens".

So when I get to a certain point of frustration, I do a Wii Fit workout or the Outdoor Challenge, refocus, and do something that can be "one part of the solution". Sometime that means blogging, sometimes it means conducting scholarship and computer workshops at the local library, sometimes it means taking time to know the students, or sometimes it just reading everyone else's blogs, twits, posts, sites, or vids.

I see so much potential and so many learning opportunities through the net, that when I feel the digital divide at the local level it feels like a punch in the gut. I know I am not the US or on the global level. Like many of the issues in/about education, there is not just one answer, not just one person or group of people to blame or to heal...I will overcome the digital divide rut and get back on a techie high roll.

I will join the Parents as Partners online at the K12 Conference, Monday, October 20, 2008 9:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) with Aurelio Montemayor from the Intercultural Development Research Association at

I did send the K12 online conference information to school board members and through the PTSA Newsgroup to inform anyone who might be interested since our school board has raised taxes again and there is a $13.4 million budget shortfall.

The K12 Online teaser for the 10/20

So I encourage everyone to get involved, whether it is self educating about your local school district, investigating your local school district website, the state department of education websites, or just learning about what the local student councils are doing in the community. Make the connection...whether in the F2F or online environment.

And please for all of the educational bloggers continue doing what you are doing...whether you are an educator, an administrator, an ed techie, a community member who is concerned about education. Your shared knowledge, posts, video clips, experiences, motivational posts, questions, polls, and pictures are reaching people outside of your bubble.

Thank you to everyone who may be on someone else's blog roll, saved in a favorites file, or just out there...your efforts may not always be recognized but you are reaching individuals that you may not impact in a F2F environment.
Remember...the students today are the leaders and decision makers of the future. Who will rock your rocking chair?
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