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Tuesday
Oct302018

A prediction come true - sadly

In The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected, Nellie Bowles writes:

It wasn’t long ago that the worry was that rich students would have access to the internet earlier, gaining tech skills and creating a digital divide. Schools ask students to do homework online, while only about two-thirds of people in the U.S. have broadband internet service. But now, as Silicon Valley’s parents increasingly panic over the impact screens have on their children and move toward screen-free lifestyles, worries over a new digital divide are rising. It could happen that the children of poorer and middle-class parents will be raised by screens, while the children of Silicon Valley’s elite will be going back to wooden toys and the luxury of human interaction.

I am glad the mass media is becoming increasingly aware of how schools (and families) treat the children of affluence and the children of poverty when it comes to educational technology use.

Remembering an old article from the early 90s, I wrote a blog post When tech is a cheap substitute, Blue Skunk blog, June 1, 2015. It included:

 

The 1990 Technology & Learning article above tries to predict the future of educational technology. One memorable call-out was this one by Tom Snyder:

Hmmm, the poor kids will have computers and the rich kids will have human teachers? ...

As I see more and more "tier 2" and "tier 3" interventions becoming digital, it's pretty easy to detect how some kids will be receiving instruction via technology while other kids get human teachers. In the long run silicon is cheap; people are expensive. Putting kids in front of computer screens in lieu of putting them with human, caring, and skillful "warmware" is a tragedy. When tech is a cheap substitute, Blue Skunk blog, June 1, 2105.

How we use technology in schools varies widely, of course. It can be used for enrichment, for fostering the C's of Creativity, Communications, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking, for personalizing subjects and activities to make them more relevant to our students. I hope every child gets both empowering uses of technology and plenty of human interaction as well - not just those from well-to-do families.

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