Document Type : Original Research Paper
Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences & Psychology, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran
Background and Objectives: Digital Divide refers to inequality in information and communication technology (ICT) which refers to inequality between the people who have access to digital technology and information and those who have very limited access or no access at all. Considering the fact that the Iranian education has entered the field of providing instruction in Corona pandemic conditions without having the necessary preparations and planning, examining the digital divide and knowing how to implement the instruction in these circumstances can improve the quality of instruction in schools. Accordingly, the current study was conducted with the intention of evaluating the amount of digital divide in the second secondary school education of Tabriz city in the condition of COVID-19 pandemic and identify the factors affecting it.
Methods: The descriptive survey research was used. The study population included all teachers and students of second secondary school education of Tabriz city in the second semester of the academic year of 2019- 2020 who were randomly selected using cluster-random sampling method in three schools from each of the five educational districts and the 12th grade class from each school. The data were collected using the questionnaires of Hosseini et al. (2013), Gregg (2016), Zarei Zavaraki and Salemian (2015). The validity of the questionnaires was confirmed by experts in this field. The reliability of the questionnaires was calculated using Cronbach's alpha coefficient for Hosseini et al. (2013), Grieg (2016), and Zarei Zavaraki and Salemian (2015) questionnaires which were calculated to be 0.796, 0.86, and 0.92, respectively. Multivariate Analysis of Variance, independent T-Test and Friedman Test were used to analyze the data.
Findings: The results showed that there is digital divide between the teachers of the five educational districts of Tabriz city only in the amount of access to ICT and the amount of the usage of computers during the day. However, there is a significant difference between students in five educational districts of Tabriz city in most dimensions of digital divide, access to ICT, the usage of computers during the day and the year, and the level of their skills in using ICT. Teachers, as compared to students, have more access to ICT in most educational districts of Tabriz, but students' attitudes, skills, and their usage of ICT is better than those of the teachers in most districts of Tabriz city. According to the results related to the effective factors on the digital divide from the perspective of the teachers, the shortage of technical, financial, and economic equipment, cultural, motivational- educational weakness, and the shortage of management and planning infrastructures have been identified as the most important and effective factors on creating the digital divide in second secondary school of Tabriz City.
Conclusion: According to the findings, the digital divide is evident in the second secondary school education of Tabriz city. It is essential that the Ministry of Education, in addition to equipping schools, sets up ICT centers in the disadvantaged areas for better access of teachers and students to ICT, as well as providing ICT-related skills training courses.
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