Technology is a Force For Equity

The title is simple for this week! This isn’t entirely cause my creative cells stopped, however they are most certainly tired after an entire week of concerts.

The reason for the simple title is because I see no better way to word it. This is that simple, Technology is a force for equity, that should not be a question. Looking at this debate statement literally, not allowing the side conversations to become an influence: technology can and is used as a way to support students who struggle more, in a way that all students are on a level playing ground for learning. In particular, Google read & Write and similar applications are literally making it so students with disabilities could potentially learn in the standard classroom, simply with some assistance from the applications. And even if they don’t go to a standard classroom, their level of learning could potentially be a lot closer to that of standard students because of the equity this application creates.

There is the argument about poverty and whether people can afford technology. I recall during the 2016 library funcing scare, one good comment that came from Minister Don Morgan was the idea that “access to computers” is basically an essential service to survival in the workforce and society. While i did not agree with his defunding of libraries at the time, he did have a very good point with this idea. We will always have poverty, but society has to work to improve this poverty.

Another argument surrounds knowledge about computers. You can’t just throw technology at someone and expect them to know how to use it. This was what came from the One Laptop Per Child initiative, the studies showed minimal increase in learning and enhancement to education, and it is mainly blamed on the fact that they did not know how to use laptops efficiently.

There is no perfect solution to that, however I do believe the libraries play a very important role in this. The idea and philosophy of modern libraries, and especially Saskatchewan SILS, is that they are to be a medium where every person in society, no matter your age, background, or wealth will have the chance to access information and knowledge. The Saskatchewan libraries try their hardest to provide access to as much information and services as possible, which is why we are seeing more than books appear (e.g. 3D printing services, programming tutorials, an entire soundproof recording studio). While not perfect, i believe this use of the library to educate people on the usage of technology, and provide access to it, is the way we have to go to at least battle poverty on this idea.

Another consideration: a library is suppose to be a force for equity in itself, so the fact that our libraries are looking towards technology services as an offering should be another cue that technology is inherently a force for equity.

So while there might be some concerns about failed projects of the past, or the affects of poverty, I believe that in simplest form technology is absolutely a force for equity. As such, when the other variables are readded, I believe this just means we need to work harder to ensure this force for equity is achieved. Solutions can be synthesised and implemented, but only if we accept that the problem is there and try to fix it. If we decide instead to prevent equity because it might not work, we will never know if it would have worked, and we also will never be solving the inequality in the first place.

The only way to fight inequality and poverty is to try. If we don’t try, we will never know if equity can be achieved, and in turn you end up supporting and strengthening inequality, an idea I would assume most people don’t want to support.

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