Technology is a force for equity in society: Agree or disagree?
During the pre-vote of the debate I couldn’t click disagree faster. And then the debate came, and I couldn’t click “agree” or “disagree” slower! The debate topic this week made my head spin around and around and around. I was back and forth the entire time, and finally chose dun dun dun…read more to find out my answer!
When you think of all the advancements technology has provided for society, agreeing with the debate topic makes sense. One of the developments for example is that Google Chrome has created extensions for talk-to-text and text-to-talk. This helps users who may need assistance with reading and writing. In the debate, the pro’s that were discussed included how technology helps impairments and disabilities, enhances quality of education around the world and is a platform for youth voices. In the article EdTech and the Promise of Quality Education for All: On the Americans with Disabilities Act at Twenty-Five, the term “born digital” really resonated with me. The article talks about the advancements of books and curricula being more accessible for communities of individuals with disabilities. Instead of being born for paper, education is focusing more on digital platforms to develop more integrated accessibility. A major part of creating a space for equity falls on the how of the situation. How are we implementing technology to benefit everyone? How is a specific device being utilized? How are all perspectives being considered? These are all questions that need to be answered to create a more just and equitable society. Charles Kenny, who is a senior fellow at the Centre for Global Development says, “young people are natural adopters of new technologies and certainly the potential for technology and digital media to be a force for innovation, education and change is just beginning to be realized.” He also points out in the article Technology can empower children in developing countries – if it’s done right, that the goal of technology wasn’t to be a driving force for change, however it has become now one of the greatest tools. In the debate, the class talked about how technology has become a platform for young voices to rise up and speak out about changes they want to see. I think this is a wonderful experience for young people to stand up for what they believe in. Using technology to fight for equity and spread awareness globally is an initial that everybody should get on board with. The question however is who has access to technology that are able to take part in raising their voice digitally? Is it everybody? Are there limitations? Keep reading to find out more!
One of the biggest problems with technology is the availability and accessibility for all consumers. Unfortunately, technology is not a tool that can be available for everyone. Technology can be a financial barrier for many people which in turn can result in an even more unjust society. When we talk about technology enhancing the lives of people, we often forget that these advancements are not accessible for everyone. The article Tinkering Spaces: How Equity Means More Than Access, explains that creating a makerspace program doesn’t bypass equitable measures. In other words, as educators we can’t create a space where technology is utilized and expect that to be enough. Shirin Vossoughi says, “we feel there’s not enough of a focus on pedagogy.” Vossoughi is brilliant for saying this because it isn’t what we teach, it is how we incorporate proper resources, and think about the multiple perspectives of our students. This can be a major equity issue as a whole, but in regards to technology we as educators need to start thinking about if our pedagogy and actions is harming or helping close the digital divide. Research states that over 5 million households do not have access to household internet. Imagine being given work to do at home that required a computer, iPad, laptop, or some sort of digital product and the reason for being unable to achieve or complete the work is because you simply don’t have access to the required resources. Educators need to understand it’s not simply because our students are not capable of completing digital assignments, it’s purely do to the fact that technology is not accessible to all. In addition, students may all have a cell phone or some sort of digital technology, but not all students have the access to programs or additional resources that can be utilized through technology. Because of these reason, I don’t believe technology is an equitable force for society. I believe technology has enhanced the life proficiency for many many people. However, the digital divide is still very prominent in society, creating an even more unjust culture. If you’re still on the fence (because this debate is very tricky), check out these great resources that were provided by my awesome classmates who debated this topic!
That takes me to the end of my blog post, but as always I will leave you with a quote!
Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master. – Christian Lous Lange
Take the quote as you wish..kind of like this blog post!
- Ms. S