Does technology create equity in society? In all honesty, I really do not know. After being presented with two different opinions on the topic, I am still undecided as to whether it does or it doesn’t. Both debate teams raised valid points supporting their decision as to whether or not it creates equity in society. Technology creates equity by offering support mechanisms for people allowing them a variety of opportunities and chances to be successful in both their personal and professional life. Technology has offered numerous opportunities for in my life to grow personally and professional. I have been able to take online classes, do professional development online, participate in various online training courses etc. All these opportunities have aided in me becoming a successful young person within our society. One point raised was that people are no longer getting value for their money by attending University, valid point! I find it very frustrating that I have to pay all the fees etc. particularly the gym fee when there is no way I will ever be using the gym at the University. By taking online classes some of these fees may be voided or limited to some degree. There are several places around the world that do not have easy access to education like we do; as Canadians we are very fortunate to have this access. Technology may offer opportunities for citizens of other Countries to further their learning, development and education.
One point raised by the agree group supported the idea that technology was increasing access to healthcare for some who were unable to get it previously. When I think about this, I bounce back and forth because if there is a country that is unable to afford or have healthcare, are they really going to have the necessary technology that will enable access to healthcare? One of our classmates discussed the importance of using of technology in education. He works at an institute with many students who have disabilities, these students often use some form of assistive technology to aid in their learning. As an educator I have witnessed on many occasions where technology has benefited and increased the learning experience for our students.
Like many other topics discussed earlier, I think with technology it comes down to teaching our students how to use it properly, respectfully and responsibly.
There were many great points raised by the agree side. However the disagree side did an equally good job in validating their point of view on the topic. One really important topic discussed by the disagree side was the fact that not everyone has access to effective technology; those who are already privileged often have access whereas those who are not often do not. Working within a community school I have seen this on many occasions. Our students are able to access technology at school but when they go home they do not have access to technology. As a teacher in this situation it is important to recognize this and change your expectations based on what you know students have and do not have at home. Schools often have some form of technology, however not all school(s) divisions receive the same amount of funding. If we want to find an equal playing field for all, is there a need to offer more funding, supports etc. to some schools and not to others? In respect to assistive technology, we have agreed that it is great, the problem comes up with is the assistive tech inclusive for all students with disabilities? If we as teachers are not properly being trained in using the technology, are we going to benefit our students?
Some other topics of discussion that resonated with me throughout this debate were that technology provides opportunities for students and people in general to see parts of the world that they normally wouldn’t see. It allows them to have a voice; allows them to see and decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong. One reoccurring concern was access; those who do not have access are falling behind, which in turn is widening the achievement gap that we are trying to bring closer together.
After having the opportunity to review both sides I am still undecided. There are points raised by both sides that are valid and worth taking into consideration. I think as a parent and as a professional I will use my best judgement when it comes to the use of technology with my students and children. I believe as educators and as parents we always advocate for what is best for our students/children. If we truly believe that technology creates equity, then we need to continue doing what we think is right and what is working for us and for our students and children.