So we have seen many attempts at trying to bridge the digital divide, the haves and the have nots with technology. People such as the E-Learning Foundation have done a lot to raise awareness here and with campaigns like “Mind the Gap”, there has been progress. Are we really getting to the nub of the issue though?
According to the ONS 74% of people in the UK access the internet every day however 66% of them were on mobile phones, access on the go! So looking at internet access to the home doesn’t tell the whole story anymore does it?! My favourite statistic of last year was that on average in the UK every child has access to 4.5 connected devices and that is only going to increase. A child at home chooses the right device for the job so why are we so prescriptive when delivering education?
More and more institutions I am talking to are looking at ways of getting devices in to the hands of their students but with the real term cuts of between 2-4% per year how are they going to support this. Talk of BYOD and BYOB (Bring Your Own Browser) has been around for some time but they come with their own issues. Obviously at edde we have been working with institutions on E Learning for Schools parental contribution and funding schemes but this only covers the device. What does the future hold are we going to be looking at ICT as a service in schools, why do they own any of the technology, why don’t we just provide the service to the students?
What is for sure is schools are looking at different solutions to the age old issue of “how do we bridge the digital divide”, it is still there but it is evolving in to a mobile problem.