I really struggled with picking a side on this debate because I think the bigger issues of racism, poverty, sexism, location and politics are so prevalent that it’s hard to stay on topic! Congrats to both groups on making the last debate so interesting. Sapna, Dawn and Jen took on Rakan and Amy to argue, “that technology is a force for equity”.
First, let’s look at disagree group’s opening statement:
Their main points included 3 topics that really addressed deep issues rooted sexism, racism and colonialism that are embedded in the technologies were seeking out. In the article, “Tech has Become Another Way for Men to Oppress Women” it points out that the voices of many of the management systems you can purchase are women’s voices – why? That many of the large technology corporations are still a boy’s club and that many online outlets and social media sites continue to be hunting grounds for harassment. Rakan and Amy pointed out HUGE biases in facial recognition software that have racist bias built in – meaning that the technologies do not recognize certain races or accents so the programs don’t function as they should. Finally, they looked at the idea of colonialism in technology using the example of Facebook internet in developing countries – although people would be connected, and in turn bridging the divide, they are exposed to western ideology through adverts and directed media. We start to get into the “white savior” idea and then the bridge that was created is burned. All of these points are so incredibly valid and were not where my mind first went when this topic was presented.
Okay, let’s check the agree side’s opening statement:
This team made many great points about technology and how it does in fact equal the playing field in society. Some of the stand outs for me were the idea that, assistive technology helps balance and equalize your classroom by allowing students with disabilities function more similarly to their classmates, that almost anyone should be able to find access to some technology with access to the library and free wifi, not to mention, that you don’t necessarily have to the best of the technology, you can get creative to offer your class the opportunity! Check out this youtube video if you want to know more. Finally, there are so many OER’s available now that people can receive high quality, legitimate education online at the click of the mouse. They point out that these education resources help equalize the divide between who can afford post secondary and who can’t or just don’t have physical access.
This was a really hard week for me to choose a winner because of the over arching, yet under lying issues embedded throughout the conversation. However, I will select the agree group as the winner this week WITH ONE CONCESSION – we need to continue the conversation of how we can eliminate or at least address the colonial viewpoints and opinions that run through our day to day regardless of whether the technology is helping to equalize the educational playing field.
As my classmate Sapna brings up to conclude her post this week, “Finally, we have to understand that the power of education is to bring equity in the society and technology aid’s that belief. Technology surely has the potential to enable solutions to some of the most pressing problems the world is facing today and now it is up to us to decide how to embrace it.” Technology is not the bad guy, our personal bias and belief systems can hurt how the technology is created and the companies selling the pieces can inhibit who is able to purchase it, but the technology itself is just one small piece in a large pot of issues.
Thanks for reading, and again, thank you for the important debate this week.
“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,
is no education at all.”