Bridging the Digital Divide in Rural Communities
Why It Matters
With practically every job now, and certainly in the future, requiring digital literacy and proficiency in technology, the lack of tangible resources and infrastructure to support Indigenous students in the acquisition of digital skills is particularly consequential.
It is hard for most of us to imagine what it would be like without access to internet, a computer, or a cellphone. The majority of Canadians, and especially youth, depend on, live, and thrive on connectivity.
This isn’t the case for a significant portion of Canada’s Indigenous populations living in remote and rural areas. Even though our Indigenous population is one of the fastest growing in Canada, there is a persistent “digital divide”—that is, a lack of internet connectivity and digital technologies—between our rural and Northern communities, and urban and southern communities.
Outside of the lack of infrastructure, there are often significant cultural barriers for Indigenous youth in acquiring skills in digital technology in the mainstream education system. Indigenous ways of learning and knowing are known to be more practical, hands-on and experiential,
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