Over the course of the semester, we have continuously observed and discussed how influential and, often times, imperative technology is in our current society. Our culture is undoubtedly a digital one as the Internet and… Read more
Over the course of the semester, we have continuously observed and discussed how influential and, often times, imperative technology is in our current society. Our culture is undoubtedly a digital one as the Internet and new technology are deeply ingrained into almost every aspect of our lives. What I would like to continue to investigate for my final project is the role of technology in education, primarily in America. Students in impoverished neighborhoods and who attend public community schools do not have even the most basic access to technology and the Internet. Without technology, many of them are never able to learn what most of us take for granted: how to save a word document, how to choose a font, or how to properly format an essay. In short, they are devoid of a kind of “common” knowledge that is seemingly necessary for survival in our digital age. In turn, it these young adults are thrown into a world with a significant disadvantage.
-Considering the data above, is is apparent how low-income individuals have significantly less Internet access than their wealthy counterparts. Without Internet access, these individuals tend to use the Web for mostly entertainment purposes rather than online learning & educational opportunities.
After many class discussions and course readings we have done throughout the semester, it has become apparent just how large of a gap there is in our society in regards online access. This can be seen in especially in K-12 education. Technology and the Internet have become so connected to our everyday lives, it seems almost impossible to successfully function in our world without them. More than eighty percent of the Fortune 500 companies require online job applications, and even national chains like Foot Locker no longer allow potential employees to apply in person. With companies quickly beginning to digitize their application processes, it is/will continue to make it incredibly difficult for individuals without access to the Internet or a computer to have a fair chance of employment.
Furthermore, how is this affecting students’ education? Without access to technology or the Internet, there is a world of knowledge and research that is completely absent from school curriculum. The majority of students in high-poverty neighborhoods and schools do not have access to technology or the Internet at home or at school, let alone the mere knowledge of how to properly utilize the digital tools of the 21st Century. Is this fair? For me, the answer is no. Most of the kids living in low-income households have parents who are working two or three jobs to make it by. They are at an immediate disadvantage to their more affluent peers as they are not exposed to the many learning opportunities that other students have access to from an early age. For many, technology is exciting, especially in education and something that needs to be incorporated into every classroom in America.
The knowledge of how to use technology and the Internet have indeed become a form of modern literacy and will only continue to become even more so. High school students that do not have the opportunity to learn how to use it and feel comfortable in doing so are deprived of knowledge and opportunities that the majority of our generation has already developed. Furthermore, this lack of access limits students from a whole world of knowledge and research that the Internet supports. It seems as though doors are closed to them before they even know they exist. I feel that, being a college student who has had unlimited access to technology and the Internet for the majority of my life, it is my responsibility to explore and understand the inequality that exists in our education system. I think that a large part of my generation is ignorant to the fact of how many kids are without these digital privileges and how lucky we are to have had access to these mediums throughout our education.
By focusing on this particular topic, I hope to learn more about this issue and widen my perspective as well as help to educate my classmates and peers. Phase 1 explores various opinions and stories on the “Digital Divide” in American Education and I would like to further explore the technological gaps in our educational system and research more about the statistics and movements to make access to technology in schools a staple. In Phase 2, I would like to continue to explore the ways in which technology affects students in the classroom. Does it truly make a difference? What methods are being used in high-poverty school districts? What is realistic when thinking about changes we make in the future? If we consider the ability to know how to use technology as a form of literacy, there all endless questions that arise. Should all schools be required to provide their students with certain technology and access to the Internet? What effect does it have on them if they do not? Is it a human right for underage individuals in America to have this basic access? For my final project, I will consult a variety of sources to delve deeper into the complexities and questions that this topic poses.
*A single assignment I would like for all of you to complete is to write a small piece on whether or not you think basic access to technology and the Internet should be considered a human right for students in grades K-12 in America. If you do, please also include how you would contribute to solving the problem of the “Digital Divide” in the American education system (it can be anything you want…A small or big idea!) I want to post your responses on my blog so be thoughtful & creative!
In responding to this question, keep in mind all of the way in which technology & the Internet effects one’s technical skills, web literacy, economic skills, and self-confidence!
**Email me your responses and any additional feedback you have on my blog so far (link below):
(Also, for some of my posts you need to click on the title to see my full entry…don’t know why)
Sources for Graphs: