What is disconnection? What is digital inequity?

Ohio's digital divide hurts those who can't afford high-speed internet

Computer trainer and former library aide Shenee King has a bird’s eye view when it comes to digital inequity. 

She’s seen students fail assignments because they lack a home computer — and the assignment is in Google classroom. She’s seen middle schoolers fail standardized essay tests because they weren’t taught keyboarding — so they write the test longhand and struggle to type it before their time is up. 

The youngsters are victims of a problem that affects residents throughout Ohio, but the issue is particularly acute in Cleveland.  Digital exclusion consists of a combination of deficiencies: lack of access to affordable networks and hardware; lack of literacy or skills to navigate, consume, and produce content in the digital sphere; and finally lack of access to troubleshooting support when broadband or devices break. The reality of digital exclusion means many, are isolated at a time when the Internet enables daily life. From GPS-enabled cars, to Bluetooth kitchen appliances to virtual medical consultations, digital access determines tasks from the mundane to the crucial. 

The Fairfax Neighborhood where Digital C has aimed their project. (Photo Credit: Eye on Ohio)

“Everything is going digital now, as far as resources for help,” said King, who works with the Cleveland Housing Network.