Technology…fair or unfair?

Yesterday evening’s topic focused on whether or not technology is a force for equity in society. I found this topic to be very interesting as I consider myself to be privileged in the sense that technology and the internet have always been accessible to me when needed. However, within this debate, we were reminded that this is not the case for all individuals. Although technology proves to be a helpful tool, it is only beneficial when we have access to it. Within Schools, teachers often turn to Assistive Technology in order to aid with learning. Students who struggle with poor fine motor skills or other disabilities, are often provided with iPads or lap top computers in order to assist with and improve their learning experience. However, this advantage for learning is not available to all students with disabilities and we need to be mindful of this reality. Therefore, how do we determine whether technology is an equity resource when societal factors impact the use of technology? Factors such as funding, policy, socio-economic status, and geographical location may determine the usage of technology due to whether it is accessible or not. With that being said, let us now review the valuable points addressed during yesterday evening’s debate:

Ways Technology is Fair
• Technology offers educational support with higher educational value Ex: Online courses are reaching out to global communities
• Technology provides individuals with a fundamental right to education
• Technology improves the quality of health care Ex: Diagnostic testing
• Technology allows health professionals to stay connected and collaborate amongst one another
• Technology improves overall access to education and health care
• Assistive Technology is beneficial for students with disabilities and can improve their overall educational experience
• Technology provides independence and allow people to be given a voice within the world

Ways Technology is Unfair
• Technology is narrowing the achievement gap as some individuals are more privileged than others
• Not everyone has access to technology or internet access therefore they cannot benefit from it
• Assistive technology is not available to all who may benefit from it
• Technology is expensive and access to technology is problematic
• Technology teachers are not professionally trained and training is required for the use of assistive technology
• Technology will assist with learning but it is not the solution to students who have disabilities/special needs
• Socio-economic status or geographical location may impact technology as it is not accessible for all individuals

It comes as no surprise that technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. However, as to whether technology provides a force for equity within society depends on the particular task at hand and the possibility of who may benefit from it. For instance, teachers who use classroom online blogs or websites in order to stay connected with parents cannot make the assumption that every child in their classroom has access to technology or the internet. Therefore by not considering this, are teachers singling out the students who we are considered to be less privileged? Although technology is a helpful tool for learning, it is important for teachers to adapt their teaching practices and to remember that we don’t have to use tech all the time, children learn in many ways and we need to provide many ways for them to learn. We need to be mindful of the ways in which technology may be useful but also how we can be productive in our teachings without relying on technology.


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