Debate #5 Technology is a Force for Equity in Society

 

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Wow!  I can’t believe this is the last debate already!  I really enjoyed the debate on Monday evening discussing whether or not, “technology is a force for equity in society”.  Jen, Dawn and Sapna debated for the ‘agree’ side. I was also in agreement that technology helps to enhance education for students in many ways.  Some examples cited by the agree side included talk-to-text software, MOOCs, real-time video chats and many more.

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I liked the analogy of the digital divide in which the ‘can-nots’ can cross over to the ‘cans’ side but not the other way around, meaning that technology is beneficial but rarely harmful in regards to equity in society.  Usually the cost of technology is to blame for communities that don’t have access.

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They also said that technology is neither good nor bad but is used as a tool and therefore dependent on the user.  They made a strong closing remark that, “technology is a source of equity in the classroom because students can use tools to equalize abilities”. Dawn stated that digital divide should be ‘digital inclusion’ and that most importantly, educators need to model the way.

In the article, “How OER Is Boosting School Performance and Equity from the Suburbs to the Arctic”, Layla Bonnot discusses how free ‘open educational resources’ (OER) can help communities meet local needs, maximize education budgets, and ensure access to resources, in other words, it facilitates educational equity using technology.

The ‘disagree’ side which consisted of Amy and Rakan, did a valiant job of debating their side.  They discussed that technology has led to negative impacts on society in relation to;

  1. Gender Inequalityfreebasics-facebook
  2. Racial prejudice
  3. Digital Colonialism
  4. Lack of Access

They made some great points that made me pause and think!  I didn’t realize that a lot of computer programs had female voices!

I had to laugh at Jennifer’s comment that ‘SIRI’ is a female voice, and SIRI knows everything!  Checkmark!

tyra banks

 

 

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I agree that as educators, we have to try and make positive changes where we are able, especially to ensure technology is more culturally sensitive.  At Saskatchewan Polytechnic, we have a mandate to increase indigenization of all content, including the environment.  I try to incorporate ‘other ways of knowing and learning’ in classroom instruction.

Lack of equal technology access is a valid point since not everyone currently has equal access, although there are places where students can obtain access such as the library, school, a friend’s house, etc.  I did not pay for data on my son’s smartphone because there is such easy access to WiFi in the city.  It would be more challenging for rural areas where data access is hard to find.

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CIRA Canadian Internet Registry

I think this debate came down to a very similar argument as the first debate, ‘Does Technology in the Classroom Enhance Learning’, that technology is a tool and is only as good – or bad, as the person or corporation using/promoting it.

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