Digital Divide Access to Technology Resources Thesis

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Digital Divide Access to Technology Resources

Impact of lack of technological resources on the student body and teachers, plus the problems schools have on inconsistent provision of IT sources.

In the first section of this paper we will focus on how lack or inequality of technological advancements impacts the student body and teachers as well as the problems that schools face due to inconsistent provision of IT sources.

Not more then two decades ago, when computer technology was still under development, computer knowledge and use within the school dynamics was one of the most intriguing and daring recommendations made by A Nation at Risk (1983). It is true that even when technological advancements were still being tested, the use of computer technology in various domains of life was bringing forth more advantages then disadvantages and was benefiting the community by and large. However, educational standards and policies had not instilled its use for academic purposes as yet. It was, however, only a matter of time according to many experts when computer knowledge would not only become one of the most popular subjects in the curriculum but would also be sued as a very efficient source of academic service.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Thesis on Digital Divide Access to Technology Resources Assignment

Since the recommendation from A Nation at Risk, it is easy to trace major reformations and enhancements within the academic structures of schools and colleges within the U.S. There have been huge investments made to promote the use of technology within schools from both the private and public sectors. Dickard in a relative study confirmed that over $40 billion had already been invested over the last decade to improve the school's infrastructure, professional growth and training as well as use of technical mechanisms (Dickard, 2003). Many of the investments for technological improvements within schools have also aimed to improve the overall familiarity with technology for both the teachers and the students as well as enhance the overall ability of keeping records and data for the school administrators and improve the overall student performance, communication, ability to sort and research and their problem solving/critical thinking skills. Despite all the investment that has already been done, there is still a lot more ground to be covered as a pattern of unequal access to technology seems to emerge where some schools are highly advanced in their use of technology while other find it hard to even access it, leave alone use it appropriately.

In a study conducted by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills it is asserted that, "To cope with the demands of the 21st century, people need to know more than core subjects. They need to know how to use their knowledge and skills -- by thinking critically, applying knowledge to new situations, analyzing information, comprehending new ideas, communicating, collaborating, solving problems, making decisions" ( as cited in McDevitt, 2007). Hence, by creating a national standard for students and educators of expecting them to know how to use technology and know its basic functions, they are indirectly ensuring that the students and teachers will inadvertently be techno-literate across the U.S. irrespective of large or small investments.

Many researchers and academic administrators or policy makers have been concerned about the ways that they can enhance the use of technology while simultaneously declining the negative impacts that the deficiency of technology will have on the student and teacher performance. Another main concern for administrators is to maintain a sort of consistency with exposure to technology in the long run. This is one of main reason why researchers and administrators have tried focusing on the getting the basic policies right under the light of all the public and private sector patterns and in accordance to the results and recommendations made by A Nation at Risk.

The fact of the matter is this: most of the economies like the U.S. that depend upon their knowledge and intellect to find their footing in the global market need to allow accessibility to technology to their citizens in order to ensure a raising level of excellence in every field. One of the biggest aspects of new technology that has gone through major investment in the education sector is the use and accessibility of the internet for the students. This allows the students who have access to the internet to be able to live outside the realms of time and space when pursuing their educational endeavors and also have access to those resources that may not be easy to find offline. This is the clear advantage that technology gives when it is made accessible to students. Hence, we see that the use of internet for students as well as teachers boosts their overall spectrum of knowledge whereas for those students or teachers who don't have access to the internet have an overall smaller expanse of knowledge in comparison.

Another major impact that the use of technology has for the teachers specifically is in the admissions process, things and information can e gathered and sorted in a much shorter space of time and can be referred back to quickly as well. Whereas in schools and colleges where technology is not accessible, most of the admissions processes take be time-consuming and also call for a lot of manual work which can be tedious. Furthermore, another disadvantage of not having technology available at the institution leaves the school out of the business of professional training that has emerged as a lucrative venture in recent years. This basically disallows the teachers to get proper and structured training of not only using technology but also teaching its use. This is a major disadvantage for the teachers on a personal level because it somewhat restricts their prospects of jobs in the future where they might find a technology-driven environment to be intimating. Also, this does not help the school enhance or increase its overall academic standing.

One of the biggest concerns that have emerged with the advent and enhancements in technology has been its overall impact on those groups or sectors of the society that are either minorities or are under-represented in general. There is no hiding the fact that the investors (private and public) have certain interests in boosting specific sectors of the society for profit-making reasons, hence sectors like the low-income earners, racial groups, minorities etc. witness very little to no investment coming their way. This pattern leaves their schools/colleges near the bottom of the chain and most students and teachers don't ever get to experience the positive impacts that technology can have on their overall learning like the use if Cooperative Work Groups (CWG) in an online environment, or the online courses available that compliment their choice of majors, or the vast library of online references that they can find on a single topic. This particular concern and disadvantage is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why administrators and investors need to sit together and discuss the appropriate and fair use of technology within the educational sector so as to decrease the overall unequal access that exists in the societies today.

Some of the basic problems that schools have due to the inconsistent provision of IT tools are explained in the following paragraphs:

There are numerous studies that confirm that the policy principles of the schools are main determinants of how certain technological mechanisms can be designed and incorporated in the insturtcional structure to positively impact the overall teaching techniques, administrative input and overall learning environment for the students. Hence, one of the main problems that schools need to overcome is the presence of loopholes in their policies that might hinder the incorporation of technology within their institution. Some of the most popular and effective educational policies that have been introduced over the years, as reported in the study conducted by McMillan and colleagues in 2003, are:

1. "1983 A Nation at Risk National Commission on Excellence in Education

2. 1988 Power On! New Tools for Teaching and Learning U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment

3. 1989: Linking for Learning: A New Course for Education U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment

4. 1992: Testing in American Schools: Asking the Right Questions U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment

5. 1993: Adult Literacy and New Technologies: Tools for a Lifetime U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment

6. 1995: Connecting K12 Schools to the Information Superhighway McKinsey & Co

a. 1995: Education and Technology: Future Visions U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment

b. 1995: Teachers and Technology: Making the Connection U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment

7. 1996: The Learning Connection: Schools in the Information Age The Benton Foundation Getting

a. 1996: America's Students Ready for the 21st Century: Meeting the Technology Literacy Challenge. A Report to the Nation on Technology and Education U.S. Department of Education

b. 1996: Kickstart Initiative: Connecting America's Communities to the Information Superhighway National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIIAC)

8. 1997: Computers and Classrooms: The Status of Technology in U.S. Schools Educational Testing Service

a. 1997: Overview of Technology and Education Reform U.S. Department of Education

b. 1997: Report to the President… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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