Few years ago, when I was taking TOFEL test in front of computer, the first section of this test was teaching me how to operate the mouse and the keyboard. I felt ridiculous at that time, the first idea flashing in my head was: how come in this world has people who want to take a TOFEL test and don't know how to use computer?
As I studied at the United State, I heard of "DIGITAL DIVIDE" first time in my life and realized how much effort has been made in this country although I don't know how the actual effect is.
Maybe it's because the city I lived in Taiwan, Taipei, is the business center and the wealthiest area of whole country. I never thought that availability to assess the Internet is a issue. As a secondary school teacher, problems confused me probably were how fast can I type, how to use Microsoft Word and Excel, and how can I get a retired computer from school and set it in my classroom.
The Tapscott's article pushed me to think deeper. In this era, we not only have material pauper but also knowledge pauper. In other words, knowledge is money and money is knowledge. Because of today's technology, the rapid of knowledge conveyance increase. If we don't have those kinds of resourses, the knowledge we earn probably be geomatrically cut down.
In order to understand the condition of digital devide in Taiwan, I browsed the Internet and try to find some information: according to the Digital Opportunity Index, DOI reported by ITU (International Telecommunication Union) on June 2005, Taiwan ranked #7 in the world. It seems we are not in a very bad condition. Taiwan government has an integral plan for bridging digital devide since 2005. For example, the Environmental Protection Administration brought up Task of reclycling and transtering used computers plan. They wish to collect 18000 second-hand computers in this year and transter them to schools of remote districts. The Ministry of Education also plans to increase the grant of telecommunication and technology infrustructure for rural schools. Let's see if they will complete in two years.
I'm surprised to read how succeeful of Plugged-In project in this article. It's like an utopia for me. However, I know behind this successful story, lots of projects failed because of numerous reasons. If technology can enhance the learning environment and decrease adolesent violence problem as Plugged-In project, it definitly is the most important aspect we should focus on today's education.