In this week’s debate we got to hear from the tech savvy groups: Kennedy & Ummey vs. Jeff & Graeme. The topic was Has Technology Led to a More Equitable Society? This was also a pretty tough topic as I can see both viewpoints. On one hand I think that tech opens so many doors for isolated communities that would otherwise be excluded from the digital world, but then I also can see how tech creates further barriers and shines a light on those that have $$$ to go towards the latest technology and those that don’t. Below are the points and overview of each side and my final thoughts.

Creating connections through digital equity

Affirmative: Kennedy & Ummey

Kennedy & Ummey shared the article Bridging The Gap  by Don Hall! Which is a pretty interesting read. I appreciated the balance of visuals and text. He explains how attempts to close the digital gap actually brought forth findings of how technology has created equitable learning experiences for students. “Bridging The Gap” is a program that was designed to bridge the divide that technology had created. This program was directed towards students without access to technology at home. The program is entirely student driven & has been held for 3 years successfully. The overall goal of this program was to integrate student learning into the homes of families, which resulted in over 3,000 homes being supplied with technology. This program has brought attention to how technology can help to bring a community together while also providing equality within that community. Hall finishes this article by questioning if the digital gap can in fact be closed, his answer is as follows, “However, if you define closing the digital gap as providing equitable learning opportunities for all your students and ensuring they are successfully prepared for their future where technology plays a valuable role in helping that to occur, then the answer is a definite yes” (p. 18). This article is definitely honest in affirming that brdiging the gap entirely is futile, yet it is hopeful in striving for that anyway, which I appreciated.

Opposition: Jeff & Graeme

Hands down this debate video was probably the best we have seen so far this semester! It was on point, relevant and fun! It reminded me a lot of the first group’s video and had a similiar spirit. I appreciated the playfullness and the use of their interest of hockey, and a homage to Don Cherry in his better days.

The reading that I was drawn to was the article from the Harvard Political Review by Alyvia Bruce “Bridging the Technological Divide in Education.” Bruce provides an overview of some of the main reasons for the divide related to technology and education which are predominantly: Income inequality between families, and also school districts. The gaps between district resource spending have spread inequity amongst neighboring communities.  Covid-19 created a monster, forcing students to work from home on inadequate technology, creating a digital divide amongst students of lower income families.  The article reports that the average student lost roughly 6.8 months of learning through the pandemic, while students whose families fell into the low income category were closer to a year of lost learning, 12.4 months.  These numbers increased once students were placed into rural settings as well. Her call to action is that the “root of the issue lays in the need for a foundational educational reform nation-wide. Everyone deserves a fair chance at educational success, and the only way to achieve this for all students is by reforming educational institutions from the ground up.”

Final Thoughts

I think this is a hard topic because ultimately like Kennedy & Ummey’s article by Don Hall states pretty bluntly bridging the gap for economic disparity is close to impossible! We will always sadly live in a world where there are people who have less and others that have more. So I don’t think a world with or without technology creates a greater disparity; however, in the video below (it’s a tad sensationalized I will admit but a descent compilation)  Elon Musk shares that AI and technology make us super human (3:35 – 4:17). Therefore I worry about those in power that have access and use it in a way that’s bad or dangerous even! This for sure creates a very inequitable society so it’s hard to say. I think it’s on us as a soceity to demand proper regulation.