A Complex Divide

3/15/2006 By:

Susan McLester

Once perceived as a simple matter of computer access, the digital divide has evolved into a much more complex affair. Conversations about the divide now include age, income, race, geography, special needs, parental status, hardware, IT, bandwidth, professional development, district size, and more.

In this month's cover feature, "Inside the Divide," on Judy Salpeter traces the progress of efforts to narrow the chasm since it was first flagged as a major issue by the U.S. Department of Commerce 10 years ago. Unfortunately, many of the federal initiatives that have given ed tech a leg up in the past are in continuing danger of being cut. At press time, for instance, the Enhancing Education Through Technology program sits on the chopping block, despite President Bush's stated commitment to drive globally competitive programs in our schools. More than ever, your advocacy through professional groups such as CoSN , ISTE, and other public and private organizations remains crucial to the future — and the present — of education.

Taking our usual approach to problem solving, this month we offer you the lowdown on computers on wheels (COWS), a product that has played an important role in facilitating the one-to-one computing environments that have helped bridge the divide. See "A La Carts." Also, Iris Obille Lafferty takes a look at Riverdeep's latest tween-targeted reading program, Destination Reading Course III, and Mike Brown reviews PLATO's Earth and Space Science.

And brand new from the T&L family of products is the School CIO Web site, which offers the latest on school business processes, systems integration, ROI, and other topics central to today's cutting-edge district-wide administration. Finally, we look forward to meeting you at one of our upcoming Tech Forum events. Visit www.techlearning.com/techforum for details about our April shows in Florida and Chicago.

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