What a George Mason Expert Is Saying about … Building Bridges across the Digital Divide
Posted: July 25, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am
By Rey C. Banks
Kevin Clark is on a mission to make technology accessible to children who may not otherwise be able to afford it. Clark has firsthand knowledge of the potential impact technology can have on a young person’s life.
Prior to joining the George Mason faculty, the assistant professor in the Instructional Technology program in the College of Education and Human Development worked for a leading educational software company in San Diego. There he designed and developed the characters, stories, and interactive games for the company’s educational software products. In his spare time, Clark founded and co-directed a nonprofit community youth center to assist inner city youth.
The youth center provided homework help, exposure to careers and higher education, and access to technology, including the educational software products he helped design. His goal is to make sure all young people have access to technology and use it in appropriate, effective ways.
“There is a large segment of the population unable to access the digital resources and technology that most people take for granted,” says Clark.
“This gap is socio-economic, generational and sometimes cultural. I am committed to providing that access, experiences and knowledge through a solid theoretical foundation in education and instruction to that underserved population. It is something that can be made a reality without enormous expenditure.”
According to Clark, the digital divide, the gap between those who have access to new information technologies and those who do not, results in digital inequity.
“This means that some learners will not be full participants in the digital age, including being designers and producers of current and future technologies and communication and information resources,” says Clark.
Clark’s research includes the application of instructional design principles and learning theories to the design and development of online learning environments. His most recent research activities have included projects funded by the WIN-WIN Strategies Foundation, National Science Foundation, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management.
He is currently working on a project that assists students in the acquisition of mathematics, science, and language arts content by teaching them how to design and develop educational games.
In addition to Clark’s research on digital equity, he is also exploring international collaborations. He has had preliminary discussions with the World Bank to provide e-learning to African nations, and he is currently working to establish a partnership with Caribbean nations to provide opportunities for educational experiences and understanding, primarily in math and science education, distance education, entrepreneurship, teacher professional development and global awareness through ongoing relationships.
His instructional design and technology work has been in the areas of corporate training, educational games and software, with a primary focus on minority communities.
Clark received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from North Carolina State University, and a PhD in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University. He has been honored for his work by the Education Technology Think Tank and the Congressional Black Caucus Education Braintrust.
For more information on Clark, visit his web site.