A teacher stands at the blackboard, chalk in hand, while students sit at their desks, shuffling papers and taking notes with their yellow #2 pencils.

You might imagine this scene in a classroom fifty years ago, but this is what a typical classroom still looks like in many schools in America today. In other classrooms, however, students sit with laptops, tablets, or myriad other devices, completing interactive tasks online.

Their blackboard has been replaced with an interactive whiteboard that serves as a blackboard, projector, and computer all in one. It is the differences between the traditional classroom and the high-tech, modern classroom that represent the digital divide in America.

As teachers, we know that great inequalities exist between school districts, within school districts, and sometimes even within schools themselves. Rarely is there technological equality across an entire population.

Typically, there are students who are digitally adept, who have devices and Internet access at home. These students, known as digital natives, have grown up surrounded by technology and have already acquired a basic level of technological proficiency.

In other cases, you may have students whose only exposure to technology is at school, and many students probably fall somewhere in between.

The digital divide refers to the inequality in access to technology that exists between communities due to regional and demographic differences, particularly socio-economic groups. One of our goals as teachers is to help bridge the digital divide so that students can acquire the technological skills they will need to be successful as adults. While some students are considered digital natives, having grown up immersed in technology, other students, for a variety of reasons, have not reached this level of technological skill.

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