Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Issue of Accessibility

As I was writing my rough draft for my investigative article, one of the sections I felt deserved attention was the issue of accessibility to technology in the classroom. After all, we can't really have this debate--should we have technology in the classroom or not--unless we actually have access to technology in the first place.

To help address this issue, one of the sources I relied on was a blog post on Education Week's website. The writer, Patrick Ledesma, asked if students should be allowed to bring their own technology devices to school. He then looked at different scenarios that could happen based on the school itself. In short, it relies largely on the demographics the school serves. If the school serves students who come predominantly from wealthy families, letting students bring personal technology devices to school--iPads, MacBooks, and anything else--may not be such a bad thing. If, however, the school serves students from the other end of the economic spectrum, the results may be a lot more complicated. Teachers could have students bring in iPads, cellphones, MP3 players, or, quite possibly, nothing at all. The challenge here wouldn't just be to remedy any social issues that arise, but also to handle any technological issues that result from having so many different software/operating system formats in one class.

Imagine, then, a school that is suffering from budget cuts and doesn't have enough money to supply each classroom with the technology other schools have. What do they do? Do they ask students to bring in their own technology devices, or is this an option better left alone?

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