If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I have often written about the concept/reality of a digital divide. I defined this and explored it in more detail in this video I created HERE. I have also highlighted the social benefits of social media for youth and I had looked at the authentic disconnect between school & work.
Most of my previous blog posts had been based on research. I had hoped that I would not find this digital divide in reality and yet I have! I teach in a large Australian urban high school now and I have seen this digital divide. I have randomly asked students and whole-classes about their Internet and social media use. There are many students who are still visibly shocked when I tell them that using Facebook, Twitter, Wikispaces and Google docs are all great skills to have (and ALL blocked at school!). It concerns me that students in Year 11 (16-17 years old) believe that Facebook and Twitter are “bad”. It is imperative that we teach youth how to create & maintain a positive digital footprint.
Before I started teaching at this school I looked for jobs outside of High School teaching. EVERY job that I applied to, from working/teaching with Qld Police, Qld Hospitals & not-for-profit organisations that helped new immigrants settle in Australia, ALL listed social media skills as a hiring requirement.
I do a lot of online shopping and EVERY store I deal with has a social media presence. These Facebook & Twitter organisation/business sites don’t exist out-of-nowhere, someone has to be EMPLOYED to create and manage these tools. I believe youth that graduate high school today with limited digital skills & social media skills are at a socio-economic disadvantage.