Friday, August 8, 2014

Breaking Down the Digital Divide for New Mexican Children

I am taking courses at UNM for a Training and Technology degree. One of the common issues that we face is the lack of support for individuals who live in small towns and cities to have equal access to the internet. In large cities such as Albuquerque libraries have free internet. A lot of coffee shops also have free internet. The problem is that smaller cities and towns have no access to internet without paying large sums of money for the privilege.

In the field of education, we call this issue the digital divide. It has a profound effect on the ability of children and adults to succeed in a world that is more and more dependent on the internet for things like education and job applications. Once a child could move from a small city or town and find a higher paying job in the larger cities. Without the experience of using the internet that road to success is blocked for individuals coming from small cities and towns. What we take for granted in the larger cities is something that not all New Mexican children have access to today.  

Roads were not built for just those who could afford them or for big cities. Bridges were not built in this country only for the rich. The internet is a superhighway for the information age. Children and adults alike need access to that highway if they are going to get anywhere in today’s society.  

The first step to improving this issue is to stop giving children physical books and start giving them e-readers. This would give them access to many free books through the internet and through online book companies. Next, all cities should have free internet access in their libraries statewide. This would give online access to adults and children alike. Lastly, small towns and cities in New Mexico should be given support by the state to develop the infrastructure that would allow reliable access to the internet.  

By building this infrastructure the state would build a pathway for our young people to attain jobs. An infrastructure would also attract companies that could provide much needed jobs in this state. As in the past where companies would not come to towns and cities that did not have highway access now companies will not come to towns and cities that don’t have access to the informational highway we call the internet. The current governor of New Mexico lacks the foresight to invest in such projects. We need a governor that knows how to attract jobs and provide a good education to our children.