I always thought that providing each student the opportunity to use technology in the classroom would create a more equitable classroom climate, but now I’m questioning whether or not that is the case. This weeks debate topic was one that left me questioning my prior ideas on technology in the classroom. The debate topic this week was:
Technology is a force for equity in society: Agree or disagree?
I have always thought that if I provided each student with a laptop, I would be leveling the playing field in the classroom and everyone would have the same advantages; however, Doug made some great arguments that left me questioning my opinions on technology. This one article that Doug recommended really interested me because it explained how providing technology to each student to level the playing field is really “un-leveling the playing field”. This article discussed how students from different socio-economic communities interacted with technology. Both communities were provided with the same type of technology in a public library, and in each community all students were welcome to use the technology provided. The differences between these two communities were that in the high income community, students were working on homework, or were on educational programs, whereas in the low income community, students were playing games and were frequently changing what they were doing. This article then shared the point that “A computer in the hands of a disadvantaged child is in an important sense not the same thing as a computer in the hands of a child of privilege”. This quote really impacted me, because it made me realize that just by giving each student in the classroom a laptop doesn’t mean that I’m providing everyone the same opportunity to learn. Students from higher economic backgrounds may have more knowledge in the area of technology as opposed to students with lower economic backgrounds. Doug’s argument made me realize that there are a lot of factors to consider when providing technology to students.
On the other hand, Robbi provided a great argument that lead me to believe that technology is a force for equity in society. A quote from one of the articles Robbi provided is, “technology has the power to remove students’ boundaries to a better education”, which is something that I completely agree with. A huge thing in schools lately is something called “Distance Education” or “Distance Learning” which is where students can take classes online, that aren’t necessarily provided at their school. Some schools don’t have the resources to teach that class, but another school might be teaching it, so students can join the “Distance Ed” program and can take that class online, whether it be through video recordings, online notes, etc. It provides students the opportunity to broaden their education and to provide themselves with a “better education”.
In another article that Robbi listed, it discusses that by providing technology it can give “access to a world-class education”, it can “level the playing field instead of tilting it against low-income, minority, and rural students” and it “gives a boost to students with disabilities” and EAL students. It states that technology” opens doors for all students as long as we make sure that the students most in need have access”.
I believe that if we teach students how to use technology efficiently, we use technology in the classroom effectively, and if we provide specific technological platforms for those in need (Google Read and Write), it can definitely lead to equity in the classroom.