What Can’t We Do

According to Google Analytics, four visitors to this blog over the last three months have visited via dial-up modems. For their sake, I am typing this very slowly.

There are a lot of reasons not to use technology for teaching and learning. Especially in a place like Humboldt County. There are some places here that are inaccessible. There are some that do not have electricity. The technological infrastructure is weak. There are places where there is not a lot of high speed computers available to the general public. But this shouldn’t mean that we shouldn’t work on that infrastructure.

For some reason, some think that technological solutions have to have the same effect for all people in all circumstances or they are not solutions. That is like saying that we shouldn’t teach reading because many of our students do not have access to books, books are expensive, and some students will require glasses in order to read them. So unless books are free and your reading program includes universal health care, we can’t teach reading.

Online learning is not new. I understand the fear of technology, the stress when confronted with change, and the anxiety that a sense of a loss of control can cause. But we have a responsibility to our students to pass on the critical thinking skills necessary to use technology wisely and skillfully, not to pass on our fear, stress, and anxiety.

The digital divide will not be conquered by stopping in our tracks, and we can’t go backwards. The same critical thinking skills we used in the old media are applicable in the new.

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