The Real Digital Divide

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       It used to be that the family’s digital divide was “Grandma doesn’t know how to use the remote, could you please fix the T.V. for her?” But, with the amount of digital technology available today, the new multicultural family is industrial age parents and their digital age kids. And, sometimes, doesn't it feel like a chasm instead of just a divide?

      The other day I was coordinating schedules with one of my math students and told her I could read text. She just started laughing at me,

     “You can read TXT?”

      “Yeah, I can read it. I just can’t type it very fast.” 

      So, she says, “Well, just use ITAPES.” Whatever that is. I hear “tapas.” So, I’m thinking "tapas?" Tapas are those little plates of food we get at Spanish restaurants to go with our margaritas.  Obviously, I give her the deer in the headlights look because I have no idea what she is talking about. She just shakes her head in exasperation saying, “give me your phone” and sets it up.

       Of course, that gives me an idea, because I can’t be all that different from her mother. So, I offer “Wow, you and your mother must really have some adventures with technology …..”

       Does that start a barrage – she goes on a rant. “I can’t believe my mother …. I show her and she can’t even do one simple thing. All she has to do is just learn it.”

     All stop. It takes every ounce of self-discipline I have to not say anything (especially as I have a really big mouth.) So, pause.....  wait for it..... Raise an eyebrow..... Wait for it...... It takes every ounce of self discipline I have. Still waiting .... There it is! The dawn of enlightenment flows like a wave across her face.

    “Oh! You have to learn it!”

    Teaching and learning are two totally different things and it takes awhile for people to figure that out. 


Some days, I am really grateful for my age and experience, because it lets me help teens prevent some of the mistakes other people have made.


From Kathy on


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