Computers in the classroom: Problematic or progressive?

// Posted by on 03/03/2014 (12:22 AM)


Before reading the article “The digital Divide Is Still Leaving Americans Behind”, I always thought of the digital divide more so as a distinction between age gaps and computer literacy, not so much by socioeconomic status.  The numbers speak to the fact that America is indeed a nation digitized.  What is most concerning is the impact internet availability and usage is having on the political and social side of America.  Interestingly, the initial concept of the internet was created as a medium of unity, free of any hierarchy, however today it is now only further perpetuating the very things it intended not to, including a nation deeply separated according to socioeconomic standings. With jobs and college applications almost exclusively available online, homework assignments, news mediums and even healthcare, the need to be plugged seems to be more important now then ever. Susan Crawford telecommunications expert and former white house official even goes as far as to saying that fast and reliable internet is a basic human right. The digitization of America and this new dichotomy seems to only further disadvantage the ones who need help the most.  Do you think  the Internet should be considered a basic human right? Or do you think this is going to far? Do you think this is a “poor persons” problem? The markets problem? or rather a problem for society as a whole?


I also found it alarming that some middle and high school teens didn’t know what Times New Roman font was or how to save a word document, but can still maneuver their way through twitter and other social media sites. By giving students “smart phones” in hopes that it will be used to further education may sound good in theory, however I think can be problematic then anticipated.  Incorporating too much technology into education is a slippery slope, especially into social media, technology obsessed generations. I find it interesting that our generation specifically is targeted for being technology “junkies” and often criticized for being glued to our devices, but what do people expect, when we are basically required to be plugged in to function in society? I realize that incorporating technology into the classroom is just the evolution of education, attempting to adapt to the times, however I think it is beginning to take on to large of a role.  Ipads have replaced notebooks, “smartboards” have replaced blackboard and chalk, and “blogging” and other online resources are often required aspects of our curriculum, posing the question is society trying to keep up with us or are we trying to keep up with society? I think it is incredibly important to have technology play a role in education, but I do think it we are getting further and further away from some of the fundamentals of education, creating a whole new playing field, at the expense of poor, lower class Americans. Do you think technology has too large a role in education? Do you think this a good thing or a bad thing?


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Alexandra said...

I agree that the digital divide has a deep impact on many different aspects of American society. The most important division the divide makes is in terms of opportunity within the United States. The “American Dream” boasts the ability for those who work hard to achieve greatly. While this dream may have been possible during the industrial age of American expansion, I feel that the digital divide is preventing this dream from existing today. Current society praises the necessity of higher education and research. We push for more and more people to go to college and hold professional jobs. But in the age of corporate America, I agree that an inability to gain access to the Internet holds people back from having the opportunity for success as others. The other I was searching for job applications to major American companies and found that they only way to apply was to create an account in their recruitment system and fill out a lengthy application. Further more I was contacted from the company through email. This is the way job recruiting works in our society now, and it is leaving those who cannot afford the 24/7 accesses that is expected by teacher and employers behind.

Despite this growing problem in our society, I do not think that Internet access is a human right. If you read the United Nations declaration of Human Rights, you can see that it is composed in a language of freedom. Freedom of life, liberty, and security. While I do not feel that Internet access, despite is ability for spread freedom, is a human right, I do believe that this issue is something our government should be concerned with. A similar situation occurred during the boom of personal cell phones. While private companies manage the telephone lines, there are levels of government regulation involved in these industries. The government requires these corporations to provide access to those even in remote areas that are not as profitable for the company as urban centers. This serves as an example of positive government involvement in a private sector industry. I believe that similar regulation of the internet could help narrow the growing digital divide.

// 03/03/2014 at 4:11 pm

Eliza said...

After reading Molly’s response to the article, “The digital Divide Is Still Leaving Americans Behind,” I agree with her argument that technology is playing too prominent of a role in education. Children of young ages must learn such simple abilities as saving a word document, rather than opening up a text message. I am seen the evolution of technology, specifically smart-phones in my home town. These elementary students, ages five to eight are all receiving smart phones. When I was younger, that was never the case. Generation after generation is just becoming more on the fast track of technology. As Jessica Goodman states in her article “Many of Fabriano’s students would prefer a two-mile walk home over a missed Wi-Fi opportunity.” Children are so consumed by technology these days that they are missing out on the educational opportunities presented from their schools. Textbooks are now being converted onto your ipad allowing kids to become even more engrossed within technology. I think overall this is a bad thing that technology is playing such a large role within technology.

// 03/03/2014 at 8:17 pm

Sarah said...

What you bring up is very true. Technology plays a larger and larger role in our education by the day and we need to question whether this is a good or bad thing. For one, it adds to this idea of the digital divide. The more knowledgable we become on different technological techniques the wider the gap grows. I have never thought having daily access to a computer and to the internet was a privilege, however it turns out that it very much is.

While the divide is a major problem in our society and it creates advantages to certain groups of people, I still think technology plays a very positive role in our school lives as well. The amount of access we have to different information and sources is astounding–and it is at the click of a mousepad. We are capable of connecting with people around the world, reading or watching the news from any source we please or researching just about any topic. The amount we can do from a desk is crazy.

So technology definitely has a large number of benefits in the academic world. However, it is not perfect. The availability of this resource is causing larger problems and widening the socioeconomic gap in our country even further.

// 03/03/2014 at 10:06 pm

Kevin said...

Initially, I am compelled to say that technology does in fact have too large of a role in education. It takes away from education in the classical sense to have everyone staring at their computers and any source of educational material only a google search away. However, what leads me to change my opinion of this process is the fact that most jobs will require heavy use of computers. Thus, do it make more sense that we utilize computers as much as possible during the educational process in order to increase computer aptitude by the time students enter the workforce?

I do not think that there is a clear cut answer to this question, but I do believe that it is foolish to ignore the central importance of understanding how to properly use a computer. It is nearly impossible to complete a wide range of jobs when not knowing how to utilize, at the very least, all forms of Microsoft Office and internet search engines. So, if computers are largely left out of the educational process, then students are really the ones who suffer because they will be less prepared for a wide range of jobs.

However, this comes back to the question Molly brought up about those who cannot afford computers. Is it fair that we attempt to incorporate computers into the educational system when there are so many who cannot afford them? In response to this question, I am most compelled to say no, because this would result in an increased digital divide. Thus, maybe we should consider subsidizing computer, such as discussed in “The Digital Divide” article. We reached a point in our history where we realized we needed to do so with phones, and maybe it has reached the same point with computers. If we truly want to level the playing field and ensure that every individual receives the same opportunity to compete for higher level jobs, then we must do something to make sure that every student in computer literate upon entering college, or at the very least upon graduation from college.

// 03/04/2014 at 10:14 am

Emily said...

Technology definitely has too large of a role in education. I, too, find it very alarming that young students know how to navigate social media sites but don’t know how to maneuver basic skills on a computer. However, have we really come THAT far? I remember receiving my first mac computer in 6th grade (provided by the county). That was about 10 years ago. I think our education is evolving in the wrong direction. Emphasis is being placed on social media rather than basic and now necessary skills to survive in our world today. I don’t think giving students smartphones is the correct route… sticking to computers is more than enough. Additionally, I know that not all schools are privileged enough to provide laptops for their students, but there has to be some other way to engross them into the digitized culture other than giving cell phones. Smartphones only further encourage the use of social media sites.
I definitely think comparing the internet to a basic human right is taking it too far. As discussed in class, I think of the internet as more of a civil right rather than a human right. Because of the technological progression of our country, I do think it is time we brainstormed ways to include lower class citizens into the digital age. It is not fair to further block out the already blocked out. They cannot access (or have trouble accessing) job applications because of lack of resources as well as lack of skills. Just how Sex ed began to be included in middle school curriculums, technology info classes now needs a spot as well.

// 03/04/2014 at 12:43 pm