Expanding the Internet
In June, Internet behemoth Google announced plans to invest $1 billion in satellites that would increase Internet access in the developing world. For many, this is a much needed development as terms like “information poverty” and “digital divide” have become part of the discussion about resource inequality in recent years – so much so that in 2011, the United Nations declared Internet Access a human right.
The Internet can be particularly useful for educators, and in February 2013, the Pew Research Internet Project asked 2,462 U.S. middle and high school teachers about the impact of digital technologies on students. While most teachers lauded the benefits of new technologies,
The Pew Internet survey found that:
- The vast majority of teachers – 92 percent – say the Internet has a major impact on their ability to access content, resources and materials for teaching. Sixty-seven percent say the Internet has a major impact on their ability to communicate with their students’ parents.
- Teachers of low-income students say they would like to incorporate more digital technologies in the classroom, but think they are hampered by their students’ lack of technological resources. Fifty-six percent of those teaching the lowest-income students said the students’ lack of resources was “major challenge” to incorporating new technologies as compared to 21 percent of those teaching students from high-income households.
- Low-income and high-income schools differ in how they equip teachers with digital technologies. Seventy percent of teachers at high-income schools consider their school to be good at providing them with resources and support. Only 50 percent of teachers in low-incomes schools think their school does a good job.
Today, 2.5 billion people use the Internet worldwide. This interactive map from Vox shows the global growth of Internet users since 2000.