Analysis of the digital divide in the Spanish university system

Análisis de la brecha digital en el sistema universitario españolThe following document was made as a practice of social research in the subject of Techniques of Social Research I Degree in Sociology (UNED) during the 2010/2011 year.

Within the current panorama of the influence of ICT in education, this work of social science research focuses on the university sector Spanish, more specifically, how to influence the technologies of information and communication in the collective people over the age of 35 years engaged in university studies.

The objectives of the research are situated in different frameworks, on the one hand the framework of what they represent in itself the ICT, its potential and the dynamics with which they progress and become embedded in the daily life of the students. On the other hand, the component generation is vital, that is to say, we start from the hypothesis that an age group known as the digital natives have certain advantages in the access to and use of ICT in respect to the older students, those who did not grow up, and have not been very familiar with the use of these technologies, especially because up until recently, there had been essential for their work, social relations or other aspects of your life. In this sense it is necessary for a correct analysis of the comparative differences between the younger students and the older.

Not only from the point of view of skills in the use of ICT, but also needed to make an effort in understanding other characteristics socio-cultural and economic ―especially in the last two decades― to understand the patterns of younger students, mainly new ways of interacting and learning procedures are not traditional. Therefore, it is reasonable to think that the age is not in itself a variable that may explain differences in the use of ICT, it must also incorporate an analysis of the times that they have to live some and to others. In this aspect, the boom of the dot com, which occurred in the mid-90’s, explains in good measure the source of the digital natives. Of another party and connecting with the first frame on the analysis of ICT, there is another framework, perhaps more complex, where it is necessary to study the life-course trajectories of different groups, not as a function of age, but from how they have been integrated in the use of ICT, in what aspects of your life, that is the role and what are the qualitative differences between one and the other. For example, it is evident that in the labor market, the improvements offered by ICTS, it is best taken advantage of in office jobs, technical departments, etc, however, in other areas labor, for example agriculture or construction, the use of ICT has not experienced a use as extensive. This and other reasons further explain the differences of the process that has been termed as immigration digital in the different groups. In this sense, the variable age should not be interpreted as including digital or not, including digital, because depending on the chores of each one, ICTS come to meet different expectations. While the digital natives are considered as the most adapted in the use of ICT and the first recipients of any technological innovation; the immigrant digital located in such advances items helpful which involve improvements to task completion cotidinas more effectively. For example, it is obvious that the utility that gives the mobile phone a director (or director) of an office is different from the one that makes a teenager. These last used applications to send multimedia messages, playing video games or being connected to social networks, Web 2.0.

Therefore, the cultural behavior that distinguishes the various generations is a key element to interpret how they are using ICT, rather than thinking that older people between 35 and 50 years old are incapable of adapting to the use of ICT. Nothing would serve the principal (or director) of an office belonging to a social network such as facebook or twitter, if the rest of their social environment and like-minded people are not in them. Which by very helpful that you can find it any immigrant digital, if there is a cultural change in their environment, nothing will work.

Educational institutions, in this case the University, represent a framework essential for you to consider. Starting from the premise that ICTS offer numerous resources useful for teaching, forces us to examine the extent to which the universities are implementing these technologies in both the physical plane as in the training. That is to say, if you are providing the sufficient infrastructure to conform to the trends of demand of the ICT profiles and students ‘ increasingly digital. In the flat training, returning to the double-reflection to learn the use of ICT and learning through ICT, it is useful to know what programs are making the University to learn the use of ICT, especially for the older students less literate digitally; and the extent to which universities are able to capture the potentialities of ICT, and to integrate them optimally in the area of teaching to learn through ICT.

Once presented with the mark where you should place the objectives of this research, the question arises of where to start. In the present work we will focus on the case lousy that part of the hypothesis: the existence of certain digital divide internal among college students as a function of age, on the other hand, can be reproduced in a digital divide external, being ICT as an obstacle to the access of older students, which can be materialise in a process of exclusion of the universities to a collective with low digital literacy. From the practical qualitative semi-structured interview, the following paper tries to give answers to the questions that we have posed here and to more.

Analysis of the ‘digital divide’ in the Spanish university system

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