During my final weeks of this course I have reflected back upon my blog posts and experiences and how they changed over the course of the semester and why. I still stand by what was written in my first post in regards to the Digital Divide. Although Australia is becoming more connected to ICTs, the divide between those who have no, or minimal access to ICTs is becoming larger (Thomas, Barraket, Wilson, Ewing, MacDonald, Tucker, Rennie, 2017). It was easy enough during my time in this course to get swept up in how entertaining it was to search for applications and create a blog of my own, but this was only enjoyable when it convenienced me. My computer has enough CPU power to run WordPress and undertake information searches. But this wasn’t always the case. There were times when downloading lectures did not work for several hours or slowed down my connection speed enough for me to loose several days of study. The assignments videos were not easily watchable with my slow computer speeds. This again was an issue when creating a Powtoon which took a whole day due to the computer and Powtoon application freezing, then having to restart from the beginning 4 times. The same can be said for sites like WIX that also require higher levels of CPU on updated and new computers, both which require more money being spent. In the end, it would have been more worthwhile to create a PowerPoint presentation. From this reflection I can gather that as educators we need to be mindful of how caught up we get with using the latest and fanciest ICTs when it conveniences us but remain unrealistic about the challenges it poses for those who cannot afford the latest computers with the highest CPU levels, fast internet or internet at all. We need to be mindful of how we are excluding students who are not familiar with these technologies and how we are going to make sure all students have an equal opportunity to complete assignments and learn. This does not mean excluding ICTs from the classroom, as this would be counterproductive and excluding all students from ICTs would put all students at a disadvantage. Rather this means ensuring all students have equal access to programs used if they are required to undertake learning outside of the classroom. I had seen a program created by a school in my hometown in which the principal dedicated his own time to opening the library over weekends in order for students without internet access to have a chance to complete assignments. I have also seen some schools create partnerships with local businesses to create affordable payment plans to ensure all families have access to the appropriate learning device. These kinds of initiatives may be what is needed to bridge the gap in future.
If anyone know of any other initiatives to aid students, please comment with your ideas 🙂
Thomas, J, Barraket, J, Wilson, C, Ewing, S, MacDonald, T, Tucker, J & Rennie, E .(2017). Measuring Australia’s Digital Divide: The Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2017, RMIT University, Melbourne, for Telstra