These are my notes from Dr. Paul Resta’s keynote address at SITE 2007: “The Changing Landscape of the Global Digital Divide: Opportunities and Challenges for Teacher Education.” I’m recording this and will share his address as a later podcast.

Dr. Resta received the SITE Lifetime Achievement award prior to this ke

This landscape is changing rapidly, it is important for us in teacher education to understand where it is and perhaps where it is going

Rather than thinking about a “digital divide,” we can think about ways we can move towards “digital inclusion”
– what are our responsibilities as well as challenges/opportunities in teacher ed to move forward?

“Digital Divide” has been around awhile
– generally means access to hardware and the Internet
– “digital exclusion” is part of a broader divide contributing to social and economic exclusion of people
– multiple aspects: economic, geographic (north/south), languages, gender, etc.

More critical divide: the KNOWLEDGE divide
– even if you provide access to computers and the Internet, that is not sufficient to bridge the knowledge divide
– teacher ed should (and can) play a leadership role locally, nationally and globally in moving toward digital inclusion
– this is so important, because sometimes (perhaps often) teachers don’t feel empowered that they CAN make a difference

Global landscape of the digital divide
– critical issue is adult literacy
– global chart of adult illiteracy rates by region and gender

[RATES ARE ABOUT 50% FOR FEMALES IN ARAB STATES, SOUTH AND WEST ASIA (GREATER THAN 50%) AND IN SUB-SAHARA AFRICA]

Are huge gaps in gender literacy in several areas
– these are critical problems
– for people to develop digital literacy, it is critical they have basic literacy

The challenge of global teacher shortages is also related to the goal of digital inclusion
– a huge shortage of teachers worldwide
– 15 to 35 million teachers needed by 2015
– two-thirds of the world’s 60 million teachers in developing countries
– teaching is becoming a less attractive profession: low status, poor working conditions and salaries

[I THINK THE UNITED STATES SHOULD REALLY MODEL “BEST PRACTICE” WHEN IT COMES TO THIS, VALUING OUR TEACHERS MUCH MORE HIGHLY

This shortage has often been thought of as a recruitment problem, but that is not it: it is a retention problem
– study by National Commission on America’s Future (Tom Carroll) found “working conditions” rather than MONEY was the main factor influencing retention

Digital divide in a tech context
– percent of households with a radio
– colors that are darkest have 50% or less of households have a radio
– from UIS from ITU World Telecommunication Indicators Database (2005)

Access to computers: Number of personal computers per 100 inhabitants in 2002

broadband penetration in top 20 economies in Dec 2005
– we’ve often thought the US is a leader in broadband access
– look at this chart: US is #16 among these countries

Internet penetration: Internet Users by World Region
– are more internet users in Japan, Korea
– in China alone: are 30 million people with broadband access to the Internet
– Europe next
– US and Canada next
– then Latin America
– then Africa

Percent of Internet World Users
– Internet users per 100 inhabitants
– Iam MOST excited about “telephone subscribers and internet users 1994-2004” – radical upward shift in mobile phone users
– this curve is continuing to accelerate, particularly in developing countries

[THIS REMINDS ME OF A NPR STORY OF THE DAY ABOUT PHONE ACCESS IN AFGHANISTAN I HEARD RECENTLY]

Telephone subscribers per 100 inhabitants, Africa 1995-2004
– exponential growth line for Africa
– as we look at the impact and reach of technology, we need to increasingly look at wireless phones and wireless phone devices

Context of the digital divide
– need to frame this against the knowledge divide
– knowledge, both basic and applied, is growing exponentially
– world knowledge base doubles every 2-3 years
– resources available on the Internet are growing at about this same rate

Lyman at UC Berkeley in 2003’s study: Size of the Internet in Terabytes
– this data was about 4 years ago (from 2002)
– total size in 2002 was estimated as 532,897 terabytes

Surface web: 167 terabytes
deep web: 91,850 terabytes
email (originals): 440,696 terabytes
IM: 274 terabytes

US Library of Congress: Entire collection is around 20 terabytes
– when you consider that context, this REALLY is amazing

Contrast that with the “deep web” – non-public web, pay for or proprietary resources

I’m at UT, we have a digital library
– I”m able to access vast resources that I wouldn’t be able to access in most public school settings

Another aspect of the web: what is the language of the content available there?
– over 68% of all web content is in English (2004 study by VilaWeb.com)
– Japanese next, German next, Chinese, then French, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Portuguese…

So “English is required” to access most of the content on the web today

Essential conditions for digital inclusion: Access to-
– basic literacy skills
– computer hardware, software and connectivity to the Internet
– meaningful, high quality, culturally relevant content in local languages
– creating, sharing, and exchanging digital content
– educators who know how to use digital tools and resources in pedagogically sound, culturally responsive ways

What can we do to enable communities, schools, and students to create and share digital content?
– this is an essential question

What is our roles in providing learning opportunities to educators?

We have this opportunity toaddress the digital divide and foster digital inclusion in new ways we might not have played a key role in before
– 1 way: foster public/private partnerships
– hardware access in schools

Teacher ed is strategically situated to play a key role as an advocate and initiator of activities focused on DIGITAL INCLUSION
– connectivity: rapid growth of wireless technologies, WiMax: increasing range of wireless, Explore mobile learning opportunities

I think we are going to see a new generation of mobile devices (Apple iPhone: converging telephony, Internet access, mp3 player, etc.)

My work setting up a wifi network on a Navajo reservation, was able to demonstrate value of the network and then go to US gov’t and get support for funding access for Native American schools
– led to a huge national initiative, infrastructure installed, that started out with a pilot project
– teacher ed can help develop those kinds of projects: build the base and understanding
– the advocacy for expanding access, showing benefits

Advocate for new regulatory framework in developing countries
– in many countries: schools are charged the same for Internet access as businesses (this shoots themselves in the foot)
– today’s broadband challenge requires new thinking and an end to business as usual
– Build on mobile success where 1 billion mobile customers (or 58% of today’s 1.8 billion mobile users) are in developing countries
– Regulators have an unprecedented opportunity to speed the uptake….

Provide Leadership in Open Educational Resources
– rapid growth of digital libraries, open educational resources (Merlot, Google, Yahoo)
– Open Courseware Initiative (MIT, UNESCO)
– Rapid growth of free/open source software (Open Office, GIM, Tux Paint, Nvu)
– Creative Commons (some rights reserved)

Provide learners with access to teachers to know how to use 21st century tools for learning

New book coming from UNESCO: “eLearning for Teacher Development: A Policy and Planning Guide”
– will be in print and online
– as we were developing this, we used a 2D framework: y axis communication, x axis content (information repository, online-distance courses, blended-extended courses, communities of practice)
– so one of the ultimate goals for eLearning for teacher development is a community of practice

[THAT WOULD BE A GREAT SLIDE TO SHARE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE K-12 ONLINE CONFERENCE, BECAUSE DEVELOPING A PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE IS ESSENTIAL]

Working locally for high quality, relevant

Four Directions Project as an example
– with 19 Native American schools around the country
– purpose was based on piloting: bringing teachers as pedagogical leaders, elders as cultural experts, and students as technology experts
– working together to develop culturally responsive curriculum
– VERY POWERFUL model, an amazing experience for everyone involved

We were using tech
– to incorporate traditional cultural knowledge into the curriculum
– also preserving and revitalizing native languages

Worldwide we are losing native languages faster than we’re losing the rain forest
– when you lose your language as a Native community, in many ways you have lost your identity
– in some of these communities, there were only a few elders who were fluent speakers of the language
– they developed textbooks, could hear them both in English and in their native language

[WHAT A GREAT PROJECT TO BRING TO OKLAHOMA! I DON’T THINK THEY HAD ANY OKLAHOMA TRIBES PARTICIPATING IN 4 DIRECTIONS]

Also looked at partnering with museums
– many cultural and historical artifacts of indigenous people are no longer located in that community
– called this digital repatriation” – bringing these artifacts back into the community
– examples created by 4th and 5th grade students
– I wish you could have seen the faces of the Smithsonian staff

Virtual museum partnerships have wonderful potential
– providing leadership in enabling communities, schools, teachers, students to crate, share and exchange digital content

[WHAT A GREAT MODEL FOR OUR OKLAHOMA DIGITAL CENTENNIAL PROJECT]

To see the respect the museum staff had for the tribal elders had a very powerful effect on the students that were participating
– made a change in the students’ own respect for their elders and their culture

Cultural Appropriation of ICT to Empower Indigenous Communities
– when you do this, you are enabling/empowering that community to have a voice on the Internet
– in many cases, voices outside the community (outsiders) are the only one present
– working respectfully with people in indigenous communities has great potential, allowing them to appropriate technologies as appropriate for their contexts

Research on the impact of this work helps us all too

Need to work to form trans-national partnerships

resta [at] mail [dot] utexas [dot] edu

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