Both sides put forward compelling and thought-provoking arguments around this week’s Great Debate topic ‘Technology is a force for equity in society’. Initially, I thought I would be an absolute agree side, but that was not the case. I found myself swayed back and forth as the debate progressed. As it is argued in my last blogpost, any innovation (technology) may come with issues and side-effects that challenge teachers, students and the whole society.
Victoria and Jasmine pointed out that the educational inequity is exacerbated by the fast and growing appetite for Ed Tech use, linked to an issue that is unfolding on a global scale, — The Digital Divide. The digital divide exists, and challenges individuals and the society even in regions or countries with reliable information and communication technology infrastructure and household connectivity. Efforts to provide reliable connectivity and affordable devices to all might be the ultimate solution but barely can bring about significant effects in a few years. To lessen already existing inequalities, we must also support other alternatives rather than limiting education to online and digital means. Although we’ll need to come to terms with how technology positively affects widespread places and people, excessive reliance on technology may limit creativity in all ways of learning and teaching.
On the other hand, I also agree that technology is a force of equity in society. President Franklin Roosevelt declared four universal freedoms, one of them is Freedom from Want.
OERs provide a wide range of educational resources, that gives those who are willing to learn an opportunity to achieve success. Technology and Online Education allow people from humble families to be exposed to high-quality education which is equal to the education received at university. In other words, technology enables people to have more options in pursuit of what they are willing to know without worrying about social class, financial constraints, amongst other things.
I would like to end this post with a story of one of my favourite open-source software developers, as it is said in his self-introduction on his Github homepage,
“thanks to the Free Software Foundation and the GNU project that a guy coming from a humble family with not much resources learned how to program and achieve success as valuable professional in the IT industry. Today, I share my work under the GPL license that guarantees that anyone using software that I’ve written will be able to use it, execute it, study it, modify it, redistribute it or even sell it with totally freedom”.https://github.com/DamnWidget
What a vivid story that demonstrates to us how technology promotes educational equity.