The general public knows of it as the ‘digital divide’, when global ICT expansion bypasses large proportions of the world’s population, often leaving the poor behind. Part of KEY’s objective with donating libraries to schools is to help close the digital divide as it relates to access to information.
Development experts break this divide down further. The ‘first order divide’ relates to access to ICTs from the perspective of connectivity. So by donating the resources, and ensuring connectivity, you have addressed the ‘first order divide’. But then there is the often overlooked ‘second order divide’, which is critical to address if you look for results-orientated interventions. The ‘second order divide’ relates to the ability to use ICTs and contribute to content. In other words, it is all well and good to donate ICT to schools, but if you don’t ensure they know how to use it, and to access continual training, you have not addressed the ‘digital divide’.
At KEY we have watched this issue closely in our libraries, which is why we decided to start conducting further training on the Smart boards we donated, so teachers could learn more about planning their lessons, linking them to online content, and then sharing the content they created with other teachers. We traveled back to Lewa Primary with trainers from Intersol Smartboards, and conducted a week-long training session with all of the teachers at the school. We are now monitoring the results, to see if this is something we should take to other schools we have also donated to.
Needless to say, it was inspiring to see the confidence of the teachers build over the course of the week, culminating in an afternoon challenge where they built their own lesson plans linking internet content to the plan – something they had never done before, and will start implementing into their library lessons. Definitely a step towards closing the ‘second order divide’!