Monday 9 November 2015

Digital Divide

The digital divide is one that is very prevalent. However, as a teacher at a private international school, I don’t often experience it first hand. In fact almost the opposite. Most of my students have the latest technologies and I’m the one trying to catch up to them when I don’t have the latest versions. My students are often showing me new things out on the market and then I’m trying to figure out how to use them. We are very lucky to have 1-to-1 laptop programmes in Years 3 and above and iPads/iMacs in the lower grades.

However, back in Canada, it is a very different story. I would be forced to teach in a very different way. Most schools have a computer lab that students go to once a week, compared to my students who have their laptops sitting on their desks all day long whether we use them or not. It would require more thoughtful planning of when and how the technology would be used. There would be less seamless integration of technology when necessary and rather a ‘we’re using technology now’ type lesson.

When I worked in Canada, many students didn’t have access to technology at home in some areas as well, though this is becoming less the case as time goes on. I wouldn’t have been able to do many of the same projects I do with my kids now from research projects, to email home writing programmes, to flipped learning. The digital divide impacts not the subject material but the way students are given the information. The learning experience is completely different. While technology is only one tool in the classroom, it is one that engages students and connects them to an endless supplies of resources, tools and people from around the world.

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