Bridging the Digital Divide: An analysis of a notebook borrowing program at a rural primary school in Australia.

Adam Selwood, John Atkinson, Rosemary Black

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

Abstract

In Australia a Digital Divide exists between metropolitan and rural areas. Using State Government funding, Chiltern Primary School, a rural primary school initiated a program allowing members of the local community to borrow notebook computers for use at home. This study analyzed the program's impacts and benefits on program participants and the broader community and areas for improvement. A mixed methods approach was adopted using secondary data and face-to-face interviews with a total of 13 key informants and program participants. The study identified a number of benefits for program participants including easy access to ITC in their homes and improved skills and increased confidence. The benefits for the community were limited but did improve links between the school and community. A number of problems with the program were identified including participants' lack of knowledge about the computer set up and software, lack of technical support and the ongoing costs of supporting the program. Respondents identified a number of possible solutions such as extra technical support both at home and within the school, improved instructions for participants, compulsory initial training, clear use guidelines, and revised administration processes. This type of program has the capacity to benefit other similar communities, however the problems identified first need addressing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIASTED Conference on Applied Simulation and Modelling
Subtitle of host publicationCommunication, internet and information technology (CIIT 2005)
EditorsM.H. Hamza
Place of PublicationCalgary, Canada
PublisherACTA Press
Pages496-166
ISBN (Electronic)0889865159
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventInternational Association of Science and Technology for Development (IASTED) International Conference - Cambridge, USA, United Kingdom
Duration: 31 Oct 200502 Nov 2005

Conference

ConferenceInternational Association of Science and Technology for Development (IASTED) International Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom
Period31/10/0502/11/05

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  • Cite this

    Selwood, A., Atkinson, J., & Black, R. (2005). Bridging the Digital Divide: An analysis of a notebook borrowing program at a rural primary school in Australia. In M. H. Hamza (Ed.), IASTED Conference on Applied Simulation and Modelling: Communication, internet and information technology (CIIT 2005) (pp. 496-166). ACTA Press.