Article Summary #11: The Impact of Openness on Bridging Educational Digital Divides

Citation: Lane, A. (2009). The Impact of Openness on Bridging Educational Digital Divides. International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 10(5)

Word cloud of the article: The Impact of Openness on Bridging Educational Digital Divides
Summary: This essay juxtaposed the potential of open educational resources (OER) with the limitations of the digital divide. The author explained the types of open (access, licensed, format, and software) and their inherent barriers that exist to actually appropriate them for learning. He addressed the numerous types of divides beyond digital (geographical, cultural, social, income, and physical. Lane posited that the digital divide is multi-layered, going beyond the access to computers and including access to the right networks, and technical skills divide.  Technical skills are not merely a simple set, but break down into basic, structural and strategic skills of operating in the digital world.  These digital literacies are in constant flux against a changing landscape of technology, making investing in technology and the learning even more challenging.  Lane then shifted into discussing the issue of OER being made available without necessarily a structured environment (e.g. classroom, real or virtual) to help navigate and articulate achieved learning.  Lane ended by highlighting that openness alone will not achieve its mission to enhance education for those who already have trouble accessing it.

Keywords: open educational resources, digital divide, open access, limitations of OER

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