[AAACE-NLA] Closing the digital divide
DJRosen at theworld.com
Thu Aug 14 16:52:58 EDT 2008
On Aug 14, 2008, at 11:46 AM, tsticht at znet.com wrote:
> David: Do you envision funding for the digital divide effort at the
> level to be part of a new Adult Education and Literacy System
> funding level
> or as a separate federal program?
Ideally it should be part of a new AELS funding level. It should be
for everyone who wants these skills, not a separate demonstration
technology Initiative for only a few programs.
> In your judgement, which has highest priority, federal funding at
> $1 billion
> as called for in the Action Agenda report of 2000 or the technology
> you are proposing?
Both are a priority -- it should be part of the $1 billion Action
> If there is a national federally funded digital gap closing effort
> how will
> it be evaluated? Is there a cost-benefit methodology? Is there a
> way to
> determine the extent to which the gap has been closed due to the
Good questions. Perhaps you could suggest some ways that this could
be evaluated, Tom. My thought is to narrow the effort to students
enrolled in publicly funded programs, to identify measures
(benchmarks) for basic computer comfort and competence, to assess who
has these and who doesn't, to offer instruction and help in getting
access to those who don't have the access, skills and knowledge and
who want this, and then to post-test, and perhaps award a competency-
based computer literacy certificate.
> In the past there have been some large scale federal and private
> efforts to
> close the digital gap in the K-12 system as a means of raising
> reading and
> math achievement and hence help close the minority-majority
> gap. I don't recall that these efforts made much of a dent in this
> gap. Do
> you know of other efforts in closing the technology gap in different
> populations and what the outcomes were?
No, I don't know of other efforts that have been systematically
evaluated, but if there are some it would be good to look at them to
avoid the mistakes they may have made. One difference in what I
propose may be that the numbers of those enrolled in adult ed
programs are very small as compared with K-12 enrollments. That
should make this manageable. Another is that only those who choose to
have computer comfort and competence will get the training, so there
should be strong learner motivation.
David J. Rosen
DJRosen at theworld.com
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