Thursday, April 2, 2009

Technology is the new divide

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".


  1. It is a question I have stumbled upon in my work for this class and one close to my heart as I work in a community that is a "have not" community. We have many youth who lack access to some technology. The reality is though we need to teach it for their benefit and figure out ways to give them access or they will continue to fall behind the "haves." It is a very important issue though!

  2. That is such an excellent point. In our community we also have many "have nots". I suppose that this emphasizes the importance of having technology available for the students to learn to operate in the schools so they do not get left behind. I hope one day I get to see Avis Glaze speak, she sounds like an amazing woman.

  3. I'm digging where you find your passion, Trevor. It's great to see you connect to these ideas, and I really do hope that this class, if anything, will help you continue connecting to sessions like this.