Thursday, 27 December 2012

Bridging the Digital Divide: Enhancing Empowerment and Social Capital

an article by Diane Marie Charleson (Australian Catholic University) published in Journal of Social Inclusion Volume 3 Number 2 (December 2012)


In the contemporary world, the digital divide constitutes a significant inequality and thus poses a very real problem of social justice – this being particularly the case for those already burdened with disadvantage and marginalisation.

As part of its commitment to Social Justice the Australian Catholic University runs a Catalyst Clemente program.

Catalyst-Clemente provides people experiencing multiple disadvantage with university-level education by means of a program that aims to break the cycle of poverty, inequity and social injustice for less-advantaged and marginalised Australians.

In this paper I will explore the processes and outcomes from a unit that I taught in 2011 as part of this program. The unit was titled Introduction to Media Production, and its focus was New Media and New Media production. I will examine in particular the positive outcomes that emerged from this unit in relation to the empowerment of the individual learners that I observed during the course of the unit.

This was largely a result of their introduction to, and production of, new media and the transformative role this took in helping to bridge their digital divide. On the basis of this experience I will argue therefore that the digital divide can be bridged but this requires not only access to technology by disadvantaged students but more important by an engagement with content creation.

In explaining how this empowerment came about I will also examine the teaching methods and learning partnerships and styles that contributed to this. 

Full text (PDF 14pp)

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