This weeks debate was if technology is a force for equity in society. This topic is a tough one to choose a side on but both sides did a great job sharing their point of view. Not only that but they handle the power outage and internet connection issues like champs.
Kalyn and Natayl started us off by agreeing with this statement. They made a lot of great points but a few that stuck out to me was the point about how technology allows people with disabilities to communicate and take part in classes, learning opportunities and other online experiences. I think this is a point that is tough to argue with. Yes it can be expensive to buy some of the tools required to carry out these actions but the opportunity is there. The possibilities are endless as long as people are aware of what options they have. Mike mentioned how Xbox has created an adaptive controller for those that require a different option. I had no clue this was out there. This made me wonder how many people are missing out just because they are unaware of what is out there. Or maybe I just don’t know about the controller because it isn’t something I need.
The other point they made in their video was that texting is leading children to becoming obsessive readers and writers. I struggled with this a bit as I do not see how texting can translate to the other. Yes they are reading and writing frequently but the caliber of text does not seem the same as books or other articles they could be reading. So often students use slang or abbreviations in their texts. The content of the texts is likely not a higher level of thinking. When I think of children that are obsessive readers, I think of a child with their nose in a book, using their imagination to picture what is happening, building on their vocabulary and expanding their comprehension skills. Texting to me is not the same. Unless maybe I am texting wrong!
Overally, I felt Nataly and Kalyn did a good job sharing their point of view. They made some strong points and even added some personal connections that made it very interesting.
On the other side, Victoria and Jasmine battled back with a strong argument against if technology is a force for equity in society. The common theme of digital divide was argued among other things. The one that really stood out to me was when they stated other equity issues still remain such as “special education services, food and nutrition, English learner services, and child care.” This point really got me thinking. So many issues with equity can be improved through technology but some of them cannot. Not only that, but those that struggle often cannot afford technology in their homes. It isn’t a priority for them and that is understandable.
Another point they made was that students with disabilities can be overwhelmed with technology. I have seen this first hand, especially during the current pandemic. The struggle with the material is one thing but having to navigate a computer on top of that would be tough. The parents also are not prepared to help their children with the technology if they are unfamiliar with it. It is an added stress that no one needs. I think that is where understanding the possibilities of what is available to us is important. Maybe the technology they are using is not the best fit for their disability. For some it may be a game changer but for others it is the tipping point!
I really enjoyed the group discussion during this debate. It was neat to hear others perspectives and what they had to say. Three takeaways from that was:
1) We had more families request take home packets than online learning. This was very clear with the students I work with. I imagine at another school they would have more students wanting online learning but even then I think those higher economic schools were even surprised how many students asked for paper work over electronic.
2) Technology keeps changing and costs more the more it changes so we need to stay on top of that. I think this is where the spread continues to happen. People cannot keep up with the changing technology because it costs so much to upgrade. I am an apple user but they are famous for this. Upgrade the phone and now all of a sudden you have a different charging cable you need. None of the attachments or speakers you had will work now so you have no choice but to upgrade.
3) We so often think of the general public when we talk about these topics. Again, this is a debatable topic but it really does have a strong statement. Those wealthy enough to afford the best technology continue to have access to it and use it before anyone else. Those that cannot afford it continue to struggle to afford it. Not only that, but by the time they do they are unfamiliar with how to use it because they have not had the exposure!
Overall it was a fantastic debate and it really got me thinking!