From Digital Divide to Digital Discovery: Re-thinking Online Learning and Interactions in Marginalized Communities

Ching-Chiang, Lay-Wah Carolina; Fernández-Cárdenas, Juan Manuel; Lotz, Nicole; González-Nieto, Noé Abraham; Gaved, Mark; Jones, Derek; Díaz de León, Alejandra and Machado, Rafael (2022). From Digital Divide to Digital Discovery: Re-thinking Online Learning and Interactions in Marginalized Communities. In: Abdelnour-Nocera, José; Makori, Elisha Ondieki; Robles-Flores, Jose Antonio and Bitso, Constance eds. Innovation Practices for Digital Transformation in the Global South: IFIP WG 13.8, 9.4, Invited Selection. IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology, 645. Springer, Cham, pp. 34–58.



The digital divide presented between the Global South and North has been exacerbated due to the Covid-19 pandemic causing unequal access to technologies in education, public services, and healthcare. Through an exploratory study in the northeastern region of Mexico, a marginalized community used a hyperlocal network to engage in creative Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) activities. The study uses a qualitative methodology with a reflective approach, informed by sociocultural and dialogic concepts. Data collection primarily involved semi-structured interviews, observations, focus groups, and collection of artifacts. The findings present a rich framework of sociocultural factors and capital knowledge from the community. From the study emerged participants’ meanings in three categories: i) the use of offline mobile learning, ii) the educational practices in the non-formal context, and iii) the dialogic opportunities created among participants. From this non-formal context of education experience emerged creative lessons in innovation, agency from the learners, and genuine involvement from the participants.

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