THE IMPORTANCE OF BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
Access to computers and the Internet and the ability to effectively use this technology are becoming increasingly important for full participation in America’s economic, political and social life. People are using the Internet to find lower prices for goods and services, work from home or start their own business, acquire new skills using distance learning, and make better informed decisions about their healthcare needs. The ability to use technology is becoming increasingly important in the workplace, and jobs in the rapidly growing information technology sector pay almost 80 percent more than the average private sector wage.
Technology, used creatively, can also make a big difference in the way teachers teach and students learn. In some classrooms, teachers are using the Internet to keep up with the latest developments in their field, exchange lesson plans with their colleagues, and communicate more frequently with parents. Students are able to log on to the Library of Congress to download primary documents for a history paper, explore the universe with an Internet-connected telescope used by professional astronomers, and engage in more active "learning by doing." Students are also creating powerful Internet-based learning resources that can be used by other students -- such as award-winning Web sites on endangered species, the biology of sleep, human perception of sound, and an exploration of the American judicial system.
Access to computers and the Internet has exploded during the Clinton-Gore Administration. Unfortunately, there is strong evidence of a "digital divide" -- a gap between those individuals and communities that have access to these Information Age tools and those who don’t. In some instances, this divide is actually widening. A July 1999 report from the Department of Commerce, based on December 1998 Census Department data, revealed that:
In addition, data from the National Center for Education Statistics reveals a “digital divide” in our nation’s schools. As of the fall of 1998, 39 percent of classrooms of poor schools were connected to the Internet, as compared to 62 percent for wealthier schools.
From Digital Divide to Digital Opportunity
The Clinton-Gore Agenda For Creating Digital Opportunity
The Importance of Bridging the Digital Divide
A Strong Record of Working to Close the Digital Divide
Community Technology Centers
Digital Divide Text from State of the Union Speech
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