Technology: A Force for Equity in Society

It’s about equity, not equality

Equity

Heading into this week’s debate, I was hesitant to pre-vote because I was unsure of my position when discussing whether or not technology is a force for equity in society. Shortly into class, it became apparent to me that I was definitely on team agree with Jen, Dawn and Sapna even though Rakan and Amy. S posed a strong argument for team disagree. Team agree discussed how technology can be used as a tool to promote equity and positive opportunities. There are many initiatives to change education with technology and team agree’s ideas were similar to Richard Culatta’s from the US Department of Education (video below).

The three main points that resonated with me (because of personal experiences) were the following:

a. Technology has the ability to increase personalised learning which is of high value because many students have different needs, passions and interests. As a Learning Resource Teacher and former FIAP teacher, I have watched students struggle to communicate, work through Math problems with a learning disability in Math and write essays by hand with a diagnosis of Dyslexia. In the past few years, increases in technology have provided equitable opportunities to these students that never existed before. For example, students who are non-verbal have access to Proloquo2go (a program designed to enhance communication) and students with learning disabilities can use Google Read & Write on their PERSONALISED board issued lap tops in order to utilise text to speech and speech to text programs.

Prolo

 

b. Technology can improve accessibility of education. Growing up in rural Saskatchewan with dial up internet, I was never granted the same opportunities as others my age in neighbouring urban centres. Nowadays, with access to online education and distance learning, students could take classes not otherwise offered in their rural schools.

c. Open resources are essential and we must make access to information we need to teach and learn free. Richard Calutta discusses the high price of textbooks and how many individuals are in debt or unable to afford these resources needed to learn in learning environments. I agree that this sounds rather backwards when an individual can purchase a Google Chromebook for roughly the same price as two “required textbooks” for a course.

      $259.00 

Chromebook

$151.42

 

Textbook

 

In his Ted Talk, Raj Dhingra poses that yes, technology can change education despite there being obvious barriers to overcome. Obviously, students cannot thrive in a global community if they do not have access to technology and we know that many individuals living in poverty or lower income households do not have these devices at their disposal. Team disagree spoke to this when they raised the point that technology is spreading inequalities in society by creating a rich versus poor divide, while also encouraging racism and sexism through the use of particular tools such as facial recognition programs. Although I see where they are coming from, I think it is unfair to blame technology. Technology is not grooming racism and discrimination, it’s humankind programming it this way.

Raj Dhingra’s also stated that “if we change the thinking, we can change the solution.” Having all the resources in the world does not mean that they will be utilised in the most effective way. As teachers, often times we complain about limited resources and I think our perspective on this needs to change. In the class debate, much concern was raised when discussing how Regina Public Schools re-allocated technology this school year. I also hear many comments at the school I teach at regarding not having enough lap tops for each classroom yet, the computer lab across the hall from my classroom is often completely empty during some class periods.

Technology has done a good job at removing barriers in today’s society. If we continue with an optimistic mindset, I believe many more barriers will be eliminated as time goes on resulting in increased equity across the globe.

 

download

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Technology: A Force for Equity in Society

Add yours

  1. Jodie,I agree with your statement about how technology has the ability to increase personalized learning which is of high value because many students have different needs, passions and interests. For a lot of my assignments I do a choice board. This allows students to choose something they may be more interested in vs. just completing an assignment for completion sake. I also highlighted Google Read and Write just as you have – we rely on this tool EVERYDAY in my classroom! The picture comparing the price of technology vs. a textbook is rather baffling. Technology is such a powerful took and I think more people need to look at access and cost and functionality in today’s world. Often times we spend so much on textbooks, when in reality the new wave should be having things accessibly online, just as Alec has done for this class.

    Like

  2. The removal of barriers is such an important piece to this weeks conversation. When we allow ourselves to see just how many hurdles we can help our students overcome by integrating technology into their worlds, especially when we talk about tools like Proloquo2go and Google Read Write, we open up doors for them that we maybe didn’t even know existed before. I will be taking a closer look at Proloquo2go this summer, thanks for sharing!

    Like

    1. You definitely should, Proloquo2go is a great tool! There is a high fee attached to the app but if you speak to the speech pathologist that assists at your school they are often able to help out with it as a resource since the board has accounts! 🙂

      Like

  3. I really enjoyed the positivity in your post! You made some great points for the agree side as well. Textbooks are insanely expensive. I still have many of mine because I couldn’t sell them for what they were worth and barely touched them. I think your point about purchasing a Google Chromebook would be cheaper in the long run is absolutely on point, and it is completely ridiculous that a laptop costs about the same as a textbook. I also liked your point discussing the negatives: “Technology is not grooming racism and discrimination, it’s humankind programming it this way.” This is a strong statement and very honest. Perhaps it can give us a chance to look in the mirror and really think about why our world is the way it is. We are in charge of the change we see in this world and I think your post does a great job of addressing this idea!

    Like

    1. I’ve really been trying to be more optimistic when it comes to technology because before this class I was often hesitant to change and the implementation of technology in the classroom (depending on the scenario). I am glad you can tell that I am trying to promote a positive outlook towards technology 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent post-Jodie and very well organized. I really liked the way you wrapped up the post and completely agree with you when you say” Technology has done a good job at removing barriers in today’s society. If we continue with an optimistic mindset, I believe many more barriers will be eliminated as time goes on resulting in increased equity across the globe”.Technology has contributed a lot to promote equity in the society and yet sometimes it is blamed and will be a scapegoat. Why blame the technology when we as a user and people who are responsible to deliver it in an appropriate was have failed? We don’t have the will to deliver it in a right way which in return creates conflicting opinions about the technology. Technology surely has the potential to enable solutions to some of the most pressing problems and it is up to us to decide how to embrace it. Once again great thoughts loved reading it.

    Like

  5. Great point that equity is not the same as equality. Technology has the power to allow for differentiation and provide assistive learning tools so that all students can get what they need. I haven’t heard of Proloquo2go, but that sounds like an incredible program and truly helps create equity. I agree that education through distance education and open resources help create equitable opportunities for learning. I also agree that technology is not to blame for the horribleness that we can find online, rather it’s how people are choosing to use the tool of technology that creates such hate online.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I appreciate the LRT perspective you bring to this conversation, Jodie. As a fellow LRT, I too see the immense benefits of assistive technology in allowing students with varying needs to be able to read, write and communicate. It’s amazing seeing their confidence go up as they are able to do things they may not have been able to do independently before. I have heard of Proloquo2go before but haven’t used it myself…..I will be speaking to my SLP about it the next time I see her! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: