Chapter 11 Digital Literacies in the Classroomby Joan Al. Rhodes and Valerie Robnolt

Rhodes and Robnolt write, “The 21st century has seen a profound change in the definition of what it means to be a literate member of society” (153). Attewell states, “. . .without access to technology, students from economically disadvantaged communities are unable to benefit“(154). When I read these two statements, I felt that they went hand-in-hand. At one point in time, literacy had a well-known understanding to mean to be able to read printed text and write. Now that we are in the digital age, the idea of literacy has made a paradigm shift that can be compared to the “changes experienced during the revolution created by the advent of the printing press (153). At that point, many people wanted to read, just like many people want to learn how to use the computer now-a-days.

In addition to many people wanting to learn how to use the computer, we need to make sure that our adolescents are computer literate. Even though we have the No Child Left Behind mantra rolling through our K12 schools, many schools do not have enough funds to buy a sufficient amount of computers to help the students become computer literate. I must say that students who live in areas or school districts are getting left behind, a.k.a. the “have nots.” So I have to ask, what do we or our government do for the have nots whose schools do not have the funds to buy the latest in technology?

Furthermore, we also face the problem of families who cannot afford a computer at home. The authors give statistics about which types of families do not have computers and Internet access. They report that 52% of poverty level students can only access the Internet at school (154). From personal knowledge and from reading Digital Literacies in the Classroom, I can see that the schools are trying to correct the problem of supply and demand for the schools. Many schools are doing their best to keep up with the ever changing pace in technology. My hope is that all K12 schools will be financially able to keep up with the changes in technology and there will be some kind of a program that will allow all K12 students to have not only access to a computer, but also affordable access to the Internet.