Monday, March 11, 2013

The Digital Divide and Using Inforgraphics as Asessment

Even though I feel the Digital Native vs. Digital Immigrant debate has been rehashed a million times, every semester I still have the discussion with my students. Primarily because it is new to them and also because the same misconceptions still come up. What I love is that Mark Prensky basically wrote about Digital Natives around the time that most of my students were born, yet 95% of them consider themselves "Digital Immigrants." It really is interest more than age. So after we get the Digital Native Debate out of the way I want them to really focus on the Digital Divide. This is what I feel is the heart of the technology divide in our country - the haves and the have nots. I also believe that education can be the great equalizer for this. I asked my students to read about the Digital Divide and we could have had another debate, or I could have had them write a paper or blog post about why it was important, but in an Intro to Education Technology class, my assessments need to practice what I preach. So to assess their understanding of the Digital Divide I had them create an Infographic to explain the issue.

Here was the set-up:

Digital Divide Infographic

infographicBased on this week's reading on the Digital Divide as well as the resources that have been gathered online (See our Diigo Group), you will create an infographic that would be used to explain the Digital Divide to a group of teachers. This could be something that you would post on your blog, or tweet to your followers to help your fellow teachers understand this issue.

There are several Infographic Web 2.0 tools available including:

Piktochart -
Has great built in features to create charts and visuals to explain statistics

Has some nice templates to chose from for you to create an infographic

Very similar to Easelly and template based

Infogram -
Boasts interactive infographics

Guiding Questions

Your infographic does not need to address all of these questions, but that can be used to help guide the focus of your project

1) Who is/isn't connected?
2) What type of technology? Phones, laptops, etc
3) How are they connecting?
4) What attributes matter? (income, education, geography, etc.)
5) Who connects how to what?
6) How sophisticated is the usage?
7) How do we overcome the divide?

Basically you need to address:
What is the Divide?
Why does it matter?
What are some solutions to solve it?

My students produced some incredible Infographics. In particular, I want to highlight this one from Shannon (used with Permission).

I gave my students the opportunity to use any infographic tool that they wanted. However, most gravitated towards Piktochart and I would have to say that the best looking infographics tended to use that tool. There was a definite learning curve for the different tools and in future I would scaffold that a bit more. However, I having students create an Infographic was a great way for me to assess their content knowledge on the subject.

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