May 27, 2014

Some Briefing on Digital Divide

Digital divide has to do with the fact that in the whole planet there are people who can have access to and the capability to use modern digital technology, such as, information and communication technologies, (ICT’s), digital television, smart phones, computers, tablets, the Internet, etc., and people who simply cannot. The digital divide exists between those in cities and those in rural areas. It also exists between the educated and the uneducated, between economic classes; and between developed and developing nations. A lack of access to digital technology is a disadvantage, whereas those who do have access have a huge knowledge base that can only be found online.
While it is true that the digital divide relates to the ownership of, or access to current technologies, there is still another important aspect about the digital divide. People are not only divided in the ownership and access to current technologies, but it is also divided in the skills to effectively use the technology. Several scenarios converge: users who do not have acceptable proficiency to obtain the minimal benefits using the technology, and other users who do not have any skills at all and, of course, are unable to use and benefit from the technology. And another, I would call, a “sad” scenario, which has to do with “technophobia”. Technophobic people feel unreasonable fears and are disinterested at everything related to digital technology.
The Governments of all countries, including Venezuela, need to advocate for adequate budgets to support not only the purchase of the actual technologies but as well the funds needed to adequately prepare the teachers. Parents and students need to commit use digital technology in all schools. Teachers must learn current technologies and be ready to implement them in their classrooms as often as possible.

The following video defines briefly and in an interesting way, the term digital divide. I recommend you to watch it so that you can sort of enrich and conceptualize better the phenomenon of digital divide: 


May 19, 2014

Digital Literacy

Digital technology is here to stay and all around the planet. The idea is that everybody could have access to it, but unfortunately the opportunities for all who need it are not precisely the same. It has to do with developed and developing countries. The whole world cannot go smoothly altogether at the same pace. There are many differences (geographical, political, religious) in all regions of the world. Each country manages on its own to abide by the UNESCO’s project “ICT Competency Standards for Teachers”. I wonder if the free distribution of millions of small laptops “canaimitas” to children in state elementary schools in Venezuela by the government is a sort of political decision to go in pro of Digital literacy. Teachers and students in Venezuela, generally speaking, do not have the digital competencies established by Unesco to live and work in the XXI Century. There is still a digital divide not only worldwide but in Venezuela as well. There’s still a great majority of Venezuelan professionals and students who cannot have access to Internet in their homes because they don’t even have the pre-requisite, which is a Cantv phone line.

Regarding the concept of digital literacy, we can say that it refers to finding, assessing, using, sharing, and creating content with information technologies and the Internet. Activities include writing papers, creating multimedia presentations, and posting information about yourself or others online. All of these activities require varying degrees of digital literacy. But it is not enough to know how to do these things. There’s more to it than that. I mean, digital literacy also implies becoming familiar with some important issues, such as, copyrights, privacy and the internet, and plagiarism. You need to legally protect what you produce on the web, you also need privacy and, and, ethically speaking, you are expected not to present the works of others as yours, which is considered plagiarism. Nevertheless, plagiarism is often only an academic violation, not a copyright infringement. Plagiarism in the classroom will surely lead you to academic discipline such as a failing grade in an assignment or a class.


May 13, 2014

Welcome, folks!

Welcome, everybody. It's really exciting that we all can create a course blog and share our learning experiences from the Master program. Now we have a web site where we can publish everything related to our readings, homeworks and weekly assignments. So, let's all get started and show our talent and creativity.