Are you one of those people who would always change their phone when the latest phone drops? Or are you one of those people who is fascinated by these individuals lining up outside the Apple store to be the first few to get their hands on the latest tech? Some people are just fortunate to have a phone, let alone the latest tech-savvy phone. This article focuses on the technological divide and how we can make use of the technologies we already have.
“No device should ever be hailed as the silver bullet in "saving" education -- nor should it be completely shunned -- but when it comes to the possibility of bridging the digital divide between low-income and high-income students, devices may play a pivotal role.” (Barseghian, 2013)
Access to information connects children to all kinds of information and allow them to be empowered and engaged in the world around them. Fifty-two percent of teachers of upper and upper-middle income students say their students use cell phones to look up information in class. In comparison, teachers of the low-income students say only 35% use cell phones in class (Morra, 2016). According to students’ test scores, there was an increase of 30% after low-income students were given smartphones to access more information and instruction to collaborate with their peers (Morra, 2016). In Canada, one in six children are growing up poor (Morra, 2016). The barriers created by child poverty causes delays and access to learning resources, mentors and support networks. Just by having access to Chromebooks or iPads in the classroom can make a huge difference to children’s learning. There are so many websites and apps that can be used to enhance the learning experience of the students. It doesn’t have to be the latest technological tools, because creativity with the technologies can make learning impactful. This is just one example of how access to technology can make a big impact on students’ learning.
According to Meador (2018), there are 5 basic technologies classrooms should have:
- The internet
- LCD projector
- Document camera
- Digital camera
According to Kwame Johnson, Executive Director of PowerMyLearning, Atlanta:
“Children living in poverty face significant academic barriers, so exposing them to technology and digital learning resources in school and in the home can be a game changer.”
For example, Granny Cloud is a program consisting of volunteers from around the world who Skype into remote locations to chat with children. The goal is for native English speakers Skype in with children in remote and disadvantaged locations and allow them to pick up English through hearing and having conversations. Through the use of simple internet connection and Skype, children are accessible to the English language and knowledge. Skype is a tool we use frequently and we know how beneficial it is for communication across the world. We might even take Skype for granted as we can easily access Skype. But, imagine living in a remote location and having access to internet and technology are scarce. Then being able to chat and learn English using Skype is a big change and in
Technologies do not have to be latest or the most advanced. It is about making use of what we already have, as some are even just fortunate to have these tools.
Barseghian, T. (2013, March 13). For low-income kids, access to devices could be the equalizer. Retrieved from KQED News: https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/27589/for-low-income-kids-access-to-devices-could-be-the-equalizer
Meador, D. (2018, June 7). Basic classroom technology every teacher needs. Retrieved from ThoughtCo: https://www.thoughtco.com/classroom-technology-every-teacher-needs-3194762
Morra, P. (2016, August 15). How do you fight child poverty in the 21st century? One classroom at a time. Retrieved from Softchoice: https://www.softchoice.com/blogs/csr/softchoice-cares/fighting-child-poverty-one-classroom-at-a-time