Week 4 : Participation and the Digital Divide, who misses out?

This week’s topic on ‘Digital Divide’ has been an eye opener for me, primarily because I had not given much thought about unequal access to Information Communication Technology (ICT) and the Internet. I was privileged enough to grow up in countries, or more specifically capital cities including Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, where the internet is readily accessible to households that can pay for connectivity.

Since the emergence of the Digital Divide in the 1990s, issues surrounding this topic have been heavily discussed by educators, politicians, researchers, employers, and parents. It is important to acknowledge that the Digital Divide is a worldwide concern and a rather complex issue that leads to serious consequences. I decided to develop a mind map to summarise my understanding of the factors that led to the onset of the Digital Divide (click image below to enlarge). I discovered the effectiveness of a mind map in a previous unit EDC131: Valuing Language and have been utilising this tool frequently.

Mind map: factors that contributed to the Digital Divide

Mind map: factors that contributed to the Digital Divide

This week’s task involve creating an infographic that visually represents the issue of a digital divide. Infographic is like a ‘digital poster’ and what makes it visually engaging is that it is a multi-modal representation that consists of different forms of texts including charts, images and diagrams. Before I leaped into creating an infographic, I chose to establish my approach to this task by asking myself the following questions:

  1. Who is my target audience? Educators, parents and students. This means that the language should be simple and not too technical. 
  2. What are the key messages do I want to present? Represent the meaning of digital divide through words and data/graphical representation, illustrating the issues surrounding digital divide and how we can bridge this gap. In essence, my infographic should demonstrate the ‘What, Who, Why and How?’.
  3. Where do I find resources for my infographic? Using readings from this unit and Google search for data and graphics from reliable websites.

There are countless number infrographic tools available on the internet. I discovered a useful blog post that lists out various infographic tools with a summary of its features. I decided to use Piktochart which is suitable for beginners (like me) without any design knowledge. I found Piktochart to be user friendly and self explanatory. There are multiple features available in the free version, such as icons, image editing, fonts and layout options. It took me an hour to create my first infographic and a Wordle which I have created to include as an image (click image below to enlarge).

My first infographic: the Digital Divide

My first infographic

Upon completing my first infographic, I reviewed others created by students in Group 6. Most of the infographics were very creative and addressed a range of issues, such as the digital divide in Australia (Kane, 2014). The key factors that I presented (third block of the infographic) here is directly related to ‘technology-rich’ (understanding), ‘technology-poor’ (lack of skills) and ‘have-nots’ (affordability). As I reflected further, it appears to be somewhat simple and could be improved with more detailed information. Therefore, I decided to revise my infographic to include the mind map which I have developed early in the week (click image below to enlarge).

My final infographic

My final infographic

Infographics is a great tool that can be used in teaching and learning. Teachers can incorporate infographics in lesson plans where students are able to achieve learning outcomes including effective research methods, data collection, analysis and representation digital information types, image editing and enhanced peer feedback . Suggested topics could be current issues or a subject topic being taught. On the other hand, educators can use infographics in various subjects as visual aids to promote learning and engage students. I will most certainly make use of infographics as soon as I start teaching!

To finish off this post, here’s taking infographics just one step further.

References

Analysys Mason (2013, July 8). Bridging the digital divide: connecting the unconnected. Retrieved from: http://www.analysysmason.com/About-Us/News/Insight/Bridging-digital-divide-Jul2013/

Educationcloset (n.d.). Creating infographics in the classroom. Retrieved from http://educationcloset.com/steam/creating-infographics-in-the-classroom/

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: digital pedagogies to collaboration and creativity. South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press

Internet World Stats (n.d.).World internet usage and population statistics. Retrieved from http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

Kane, M. (2014, October 6). Thread: Michelle Kane – Infographic [Group discussion board comment]. Retrieved from https://lms.curtin.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&forum_id=_396024_1&group_id=_122161_1&nav=group_
forum&conf_id=_169419_1&course_id=_71765_1&message_id=_6163753_1

Teacherstechworkshop (n.d.) 19 great tools to create educational infographics. Retrieved from http://www.teacherstechworkshop.com/2013/06/19-great-tools-to-create-educational.html

Jorge R Canedo Estrada (2009, June 29). Growing up – infographic [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgwboxatZPw