Another week…another debate…another tricky topic to navigate. I recognize that Alec picks these topics to spark a good conversation and holy smokes, I think this will be another doozy! Our debate topic begs the question, “Technology is a force for equity in society.” This one…potentially even more so than last week, will be extremely hard to decide because technology has the ability to both divide and equalize.
How it divides:
- There are, what I feel are obvious reasons that technology can divide us, the first being funding! Now…this isn’t as simple as it seems. Schools in areas of our city that are considered impoverished receive more money in order to purchase more supplies and technology to compensate for the potential lack of those things at home. Schools in areas of the city that are considered more affluent are given less as the expectation is that supplies, technology and opportunity can be awarded at home. Now, the sticky part of this, is that there are students and families with need all over our city so how do we equitable divide funds so that opportunity with technology is actually equal? Not to mention, in schools that receive less funding, regardless of area, the technology seems to be outdated and often dramatically short for the number of students in the school. I know with my school, which is located in what would be considered an affluent area, went almost the entirety of this school year with 2 computer carts for the whole school. You need both carts to accommodate 1 class…it’s pretty hard to do any activities online when you only get the computers once a week. 😦
- Access is another divide with regards to technology. If you have the technology but no access to the internet, many of the functions of these technological devices are useless. Many rural communities, including our many reservations in Saskatchewan struggle with staying connected. Our grids are old and in need of updating and our crown corporations struggle to ensure that access is equal.
- Access world wide will never be equal and it will continue to drive a wedge between wealthy countries and impoverished ones. Although there have been advances in this area in both access as well as the actual devices, I don’t think it will every catch up which is a divide. Countries who would benefit from access are not awarded it.
How it equalizes:
- Technology awards students with disabilities the opportunity to be equals to their typical classmates. There are many programs available to help students speak, see, translate, dictate, and organize their thoughts. These programs are life changing for these students and make their personal divides, much smaller.
- Technology has greatly improved the lives of our EAL (English as an additional language learner) students. With programs, even ones as simple as Google Translate, our EAL learners can begin communicating with their peers right away. Although this science is not exact and often translations are not 100% accurate, it is a step in a pretty amazing direction to making EVERYONE welcome in our schools.
- Technology brings everyone together! Technology helps equalize the space between us by letting us communicate in ways we have never before! We have the ability to speak with anyone around the world instantly – this is something that would have been thought impossible in years previous.
These are just quick jot notes of how I think both sides impact this statement. I am so excited to see and participate in the debate tonight! 🙂 Good luck to both sides.
“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,
is no education at all.”