I was fortunate enough to sit in on a two-hour presentation by Avis Glaze, a renowned educator from the York region. The conversation turned to trends affecting education and, of course, technology came up. I spoke of the wonders of web 2.0 and how it has the potential to connect the world and allow students to fundamentally change the way they think and learn. I trumpeted the language of collaborative learning and (re)creation, claiming that educators must go in this new direction or risk fossilization.
She calmly asked the simple question, "What has technology done for the least among your children?"
I instantly got a knot in my throat as I considered the fact that many of the children, especially those at-risk, I teach do not have access to technology and will probably never have access.
She continued by claiming that while technology is wonderful and it must be embraced by the educational establishment, it is also "the new divide" ensuring that "the 'haves' remain the knows and the 'have nots' remain the 'know nots' ".
This is a frightening message and one that we need to consider. This is not to say that we need to limit the use of technology in education, but that we, as a society and a social institution must proliferate technology to the "have nots" so they have a chance to become the "knows".