COVID-19 and the Digital Divide

Students in Peru use laptops from the OPLC Initiative. The initiative asserted its goal to revolutionize education in the developing world through the distribution of innovative software and educational devices. When Negroponte pitched the idea at a Tunis summit, a participant emphasized the greater urgency of facilitating the obtainment of “clean water and real schools.”

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the capacity of education technology to overcome the the national and global digital divide was already under debate. In late December of 2019, blogger Audrey Watters published a commentary highlighting ed tech’s exacerbation, appropriation, and oversight of the structural inequalities — including educational, racial, social, and economic inequities — that constitute the digital divide. Watters discussed the catastrophic failures of the self-serving projects of Ed-Tech philanthropists and initiatives, such as MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child (OPLC) Initiative.

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An Introduction to Russian News Sources

Since it is sometimes hard to find unbiased news sources, the Russian media can be hard to navigate. Here are just a few suggestions when trying to learn about the various facets of Russian media and culture.

Russia Today

This is a state-funded news outlet that is understood as the point-of-view from the Kremlin. It’s always interesting to learn what kind of thoughts the Kremlin wants to support, and since they cater to an international audience, they have a great Russian learning page that has lots of grammar, vocabulary, and speaking exercises.

Медиязона (MediaZona)

Pretty much the exact opposite of Russia Today, Медиязона was founded by two members from the group Pussy Riot, Nadya Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina. They cover political stories, such as those about law enforcement and judicial news. This is a good way to find out about the few opposition media outlets, and what they are focusing on today.

The Moscow Times

This is an English-Language, Moscow-based online newspaper. They are independent, and cover stories about pretty much anything. If you just want a more familiar outlet that still discusses current events in Russia from a local perspective, this is a good one to start with.

Of course there are many more Russian news sources to choose from. These are just a few very different ones that might get you started!

News – Media Resources 1

Welcome to the first installment of our media resources series! This post features news sources in the six Reed-supported languages. 



Al Jazeera

This international Doha-based news agency is the largest Arabic-language news outlet in the world. Al Jazeera publishes content in many languages, including English, and presents news across media.


7iber is an online magazine and blog from Jordan dedicated to exploring complex issues and providing access to information in the region. Select stories are also available in English


China Daily

China Daily is primarily meant for non-Chinese readers, both expats living in China and foreign markets. It’s available online in both English and Chinese and is published in several overseas versions


WeChat is a popular Chinese messaging app with public accounts on a variety of topics. The app is available for mac, Windows, iOS and Android. The following public accounts are recommended:

  • Dandu (search dandureading) – contemporary Chinese literature and book recommendations
  • Oriental History Commentary (search ohistory) – articles and book excerpts on the history of the Far East
  • Sijiu Cheng (search sijuicheng2014) – accounts of experiences and current events in Beijing started by university students from Beijing


Le Monde

Le Monde is a major French newspaper based in Paris. Because it’s widely read, Le Monde is a good choice for getting an introduction into news and global events from a French centrist perspective. It’s a good choice for French learners interested in understanding the French view of global events.

Les Inrocks

This weekly cultural magazine is a great source for reading about culture in French. The subject matter of its pieces strikes a balance between French and outside media, so whether you want to read about French musicians or just want to read a recap of the latest Game of Thrones episode in French, Les Inrocks is perfect.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z.)

This daily newspaper, published in Frankfurt, has a strong international presence. It is centrist compared to other German newspapers with wide circulation.


Аргументы и факты (Argumenty i fakty)

This Moscow-based newspaper centers its coverage on Moscow and Russia. The спецлпоекты section, with well-designed, interactive stories, might be especially interesting to Russian language learners.


El Mundo

This major Spanish newspaper is split between news in Spain and the news of the world. It is often cited as expressing the views of the center-right with liberal tones. It is a popular online newspaper with international readers.


This is Argentina’s far left newspaper. It offers both economic and political news as well as daily cartoons, stories about psychology, etc.

El Universal

This Mexican newspaper covers a wide range of national issues while also featuring stories on popular culture

Practise German on the go!

So you want to practice your German, but you’re always busy. Maybe your regular coursework takes up too much time or you’re not currently enrolled in a German class and are scared of losing the language; maybe you can’t devote precious hours to reading or even watching TV in order to sustain your skills. What do you do? Enter the German language podcast to the rescue! The Deutsche Welle site is a great place to find and download podcasts on a variety of topics that you can listen to at the gym, in the car, or during your other unproductive errand-time. They run podcasts that stream both free from iTunes or an RSS feed.

Deutsche Welle Podcasts (


If you want something more instructive, check out their course Warum nicht? which guides you in English as well in German. There are four parts, each with 26 episodes about 12 minutes long. The course takes you through many different types of German media while also incorporating German culture. It can get a little pedantic but it is incredibly helpful when you are coming from a background with little to no previous German experience.

The Mission Berlin series also takes place in English and in German and follows various characters around the city as they try to solve crimes. It’s a fun follow-along story that will get you more familiar with the language without being completely immersive or overwhelming if you don’t have a lot of experience in German.


The series Wieso Nicht? is the next level up from Warum Nicht? and is completely in German. It is full of short (approx. 10 minutes long) stories about life in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The pacing is slower than some of their other entirely German-language podcasts and so it is easy to follow along if you’re still trying to become more comfortable in an immersed German situation. The stories are often funny and fit perfectly in that 10 minute gap as you walk to your next class!


Most of the website is dedicated to space for the 20+ podcasts dealing with a huge variety of topics aimed at a German audience. The same podcasts are also available entirely in English, just in case! Just switch which language you’re viewing the webpage in to access either. Some of the podcasts include a video component but you are still able to just listen to them if you don’t have the time. There is definitely something for everyone on this website, so if you’ve been looking for a new podcast to start, this is a great place to find one!

News in Slow and Easy German

It’s easy to find German-language podcasts, videos, and radio stations that are aimed at either absolute beginners, or those for native speakers. But what if you want to immerse yourself in intermediate German without having to strain yourself or be bored? Here are a few resources for listening comprehension for the intermediate German learner (i.e. German 220).

Nachrichtenleicht by Deutschlandfunk: The best resource for slow German news, Nachrichtenleicht presents short German audio clips (approx. 2-3 minutes) about relevant news, accompanied by a written transcript, so you can follow along while you listen.

Langsam Gesprochene Nachrichten by Deutsche Welle: Daily German news on current topics. Episodes are about 10 minutes long, and can also downloadable on iTunes.

News in Slow German by Linguistica 360: Dialogue-based German news, released weekly in slow German, accompanied by written transcripts. Episodes run approx. 8 minutes, and can be downloaded from iTunes as well.

Slow German mit Annik Rubens: Short segments in German on just about every topic, from contemporary German slang to an introduction to German literature. Episodes are about 4-7 minutes long, and are downloadable from iTunes as well.