reflections in response to Emerging Technology course EDUC 7108

One of the greatest tasks of an educational technology leader is to be certain that all students have access to resources and technological applications, regardless of socioeconomic background, culture, or gender.  We see students each day with limited resources, who simply do not have access to, or familiarity with technology outside of school.  For this reason, I feel it is vital to provide access to the technology used elsewhere in the schools, since these students require additional assistance, rather than less. One method of leveling the playing field, is through free programs, and services, such as Open Source applications.  Another manner in which to provide additional technology is through grants, and involving the community and local businesses.  In these times of economic hardship, many families have to make tough decisions to provide for basic needs of the family.

Ellit Solloway in his presentation ” The Digital Divide: Leveling the Playing Field” suggests that cell phones can level the playing field for a segment of society who lacks the means to access internet.  This may well be true, and there are many interesting, enjoyable and useful programs created as “apps” for cell phones to make them well worth having.  This seems especially geared toward higher education, when students are older, and most students have access to cell phones.  However, cell phones are also expensive, so that a large number of middle and high school students still do not have a basic cell phone, no less one with additional service, to include internet access.

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Comments on: "Module Six: Addressing the Digital Divide" (2)

  1. Lori,
    I am all for using open sources and social networks for education, especially when we have major cuts in the budget. The problem is that instead of emphasizing the positive, there is an emphasis on the negative aspects of technology. An example in NY is that cell phones and other devices are not allowed in school (even though, according to statistics, the majority of students have cell phones) because they fear that students will play, text, and cheat on exams. What teachers should do is incorporate these technological tools and show students how to use it to engage in learning. I hope that the goal will not only be a laptop for each student, but also how it can change the nature of learning and close the divide between the haves and have-nots.
    Orit

  2. Hi Lori,

    The cell phone issue is a strong one in many districts. However, a district can purchase smart phones for less than that of other technologies like the iPod touch. It would not be difficult to supply students with smart phones even in the poorer districts, which by the way have access to a tremendous amount of title one funds for technology. However, the vision in these districts for tech use is lacking and the need is not seen.

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