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Underlying these studies and other research on digital divides is an assumption that to be part of the 8% (probably more) who can’t or don’t use the internet is to be socially excluded or disadvantaged.
It implies the digital divide to be asymmetrical, constituted by a technologically adept majority, and a small minority of laggards.
Understanding the differences in these types of learning styles can drastically impact the way teachers handle their students, set up group projects and rally behind individual learning.
Without understanding the disparity in learning styles, teachers might end up with a handful of students lagging behind their classmates—in part because their unique learning style hasn’t been activated.
The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has a number of research reports available which study the above-mentioned marginalised groups and their digital disadvantage.
One of the key findings is that, for most of these communities, mobile phones are the technologies of choice because they have a low technical and financial threshold to participation.
Ultimately, the onus is not on groups and consumers to be digitally literate in platforms that are not preferred to access information that is opaque to them.
These findings are clearly showing that our technological landscape is becoming more diverse, with devices other than desktop or laptop computers being used for online participation.
Furthermore, age, socio-economic status and level of education inform internet access and use.
Perhaps they can’t due to lack of availability or they don’t out of choice.
But if we dig a little deeper, the digital divide re-emerges.