Technology and education disparities

Technology is transforming education with the evolving society.  Now a days people Is expanding access through the use of internet where is not necessary to be in the same place to be connected. Platforms are creating linkages between people that encourage collaboration with flexibility. However, not everything is fairy tale. While some countries and regions in the world are using technology to evolve and encourage connectedness despite the place it is also creating disparities in education for those who does not have the fortunate to afford and access technology.

I believe that education and use of technology is fostering authentic learning by opening the opportunity to learn through experience and encouraging creativity and innovation. Therefore, is important to create and generate new opportunities and solutions in spaces where technology is not accessible. Educators need to be motivated to improve education by engaging in professional development and other institutions to collaborate and support new ideas to close the gap.

Digital tools can be effective if integrates to the learning process. However, we must have in mind that not everybody is iterate in terms of technology. The use of a device or certain platform requires specific skills. Simplifying and making easy to use  platforms, softwares and other technological tools could help to increase digital fluency and avoid lack of digital fluency.

The use of technology in education engages students in critical thinking, problem solving, links and connections with others. For that reason as educated people involved in the academia, we should try to provide opportunities to those that do not have access to technology for education to decrease education disparities.

Carlisle

I too believe that the integration of technology in our learning can push more innovation. I think your point about easy to use platforms are critical, especially if we want to reach a wide variety of learners. Not everyone enters their education journey at the same place, so technology should not feel like a burden, rather a tool that is helpful. Any ideas on how we could streamline platforms to make them more user friendly?

Zachary Gould

You bring up some incredibly important elements of access. I agree that many of these new technologies preach connectedness and the democratization of learning, but they are only possible with expensive hardware that many of the people who need them most cannot even afford. Sure, most tech will cost less than a college education or even a course, but getting them to work and maintaining them all have costs associated with them. Access is critical.

fffinch

I absolutely agree with what you express in your post. Technology has been presented to us as an equalizer in education, allowing those at a distance or otherwise unable to be in a traditional classroom to still have equal access to higher education. In many, many cases this is true. For example, in my French Master’s classes, we have students from as far away as Nashville, TN join our class via the Zoom technology. I think this is fantastic, because, to give an example, a high school French teacher who has no practical way to come to Blacksburg multiple times a week is furnished access to Master’s classes through the computer.

The point you bring up is very important though; this opportunity is only applicable for those with a decent degree of technological literacy. If you are distance student learning via Zoom, not having a high command of applications like Powerpoint, Zoom, and methods of communicating with the professor from a distance would put you at a significant disadvantage.

How would you suggest that we lessen the disparates in education vis-à-vis technology? Perhaps with more frequent workshops on how to get the most out of Zoom and Canvas (neither of which are always intuitive)? And for people who don’t own laptops, do you feel like this technology is unfair because it shuts out people who can’t afford a sometimes $1,000 device?

alisafi

Your point of view is really interesting. However, about lack of accessiblity and its resultant disparity, I believe that the root of your concerns is actually beyond new emerging technologies. The issue is about fairness in society in general. In many aspects- such as entertainment, quality of life, and etc- and not just education, inequity between rich and poor people could inject disparity to some people of the society.
Even considering the negative consequences of inequity, I believe the use of technology for education in limited places is better than not using it at all. In addition, I believe that the emergence of some technologies like the internet can actually help in reducing the gaps between different educational places in terms of educational resources. Finally, as technology grows, its accessibility becomes cheaper and more people can use it.

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