I just read this article by Eszter Hargittai in which she very clearly describes why we should still be concerned about teaching media literacy to our K-12 students. Here’s one statement from the article that pretty much sums up why we should still be concerned about digital access:
“Differentiated uses of digital media have the potential to lead to increasing inequalities benefiting those who are already in advantageous positions and denying access to better resources to the underprivileged” (Hargittai, 2008, p. 943).
I highly recommend reading the article. So how do we address this issue when we plan for school improvement, when we update curriculum materials, when we think about professional development for teachers, when we update our district technology plans, etc.? As the Internet becomes more and more woven into the things we use as part of our daily life, we must think about creative ways to ensure that all kids are better prepared to use the web effectively for their own futures. Does the web promise to improve everyone’s life? The quick answer/assumption is yes, but in reality, it can actually increase the gaps between sections of society.
Hargittai, E. (2008). The Digital Reproduction of Inequality. In Social Stratification. Edited by David Grusky. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. 936-944.