Heads? Tails? Both?

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It’s been nearly three years since I touched down here at The University of Texas at Austin and not once prior to my Fall 2018 semester did I think about how much schools and education in general were shifting toward solely relying on technology.

Growing up in a South Eastern area in Houston the schools and neighborhoods I was surrounded by and attended weren’t so well off financially. Schools supplies were often scarce, textbooks were nearly a decade old, the campuses resembled prisons you would commonly see used on a movie set and overall technology didn’t really play a huge part in the day to day curriculum. Yet, I was 🍀 enough to see both sides of the coin in a sense.

From a young age I was fortunate enough to have access to some of the “lastest” technology that happened to be out at the time. This being said I had vast amounts of information at my fingertips about as early as I could 🚶🏻‍♂️. Given that I had such easy access to a computer, phone, video games and this absolutely astounding network of connections we call the Internet. All throughout the time I spent in public schools I found myself only using technology at home as a hobby and very little was it incorporated into learning or something “practical.” Surely, I knew how to navigate the internet and use basic programs like Word and PowerPoint, but when it came to interacting with some of my peers I noticed a gap present.

As previously stated, I didn’t really put too much deep thought into the gap or “Digital Divide” I was witnessing at home. After arriving at The University of Texas and realizing such a huge push toward using Canvas and integrating all sorts of technology in the classroom. Being that I had grown so accustomed to learning how to work a new 🖥 program or piece of hardware all of these things came quite naturally to me. Yet, in recent times it has been made clear just how present the Digital Divide is. I feel as though the learning curve that is thrown the way of underprivileged students who come from low income households and neighborhoods than someone who has been easily access a computer their whole lives. I’m a prime example of this because there have been many instances upon going home for a weekend and catching up with other friends from high school and hearing their struggles in classes that seem to be “redefining” what a traditional classroom looks like in the 21st century.

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At times I would find myself becoming somewhat frustrated when a professor had to explain what I thought to believe something that was straight forward, but when put into perspective, depending on someone’s upbringing, maybe knowing how to hyperlink a word or sentence may seem like more than a few clicks and shortcuts.

The way I see it, instead of complaining I should use that energy to help others learn and pass on the mass amounts of (at times what I believe to be) “basic” knowledge and teach others ways to be more efficient digitally.

6 thoughts on “Heads? Tails? Both?

  1. I really like how your paper talks about both sides of the divide and how it affects people. I never really thought about UT relying on internet access so much until now as well. When I pay attention, I realize how technology-oriented our campus really is. Also, I think the way you use your personal experiences to further your ‘argument’ is a nice touch. Overall, I think your paper is really good!

  2. Your post was very informative about the issues faced by different communities as well as your personal experiences relating to the topic, I really found it interesting. You made the point that underprivileged communities have a much harder time getting integrated into technology that is thrown at them in schools like UT. Do you think government has a role to play in introducing technology to underprivileged neighborhoods across the country in order to better familiarize children with the opportunities it presents? What effect do you think this would have on schooling? -SP

  3. I thought you did a great job of tying educational aspects into the digital divide. You went into detail about the unfair learning curve thrown at underprivileged groups, and were able to relate your personal experiences into the post too. I found it interesting how “when it came to interacting with some of my peers I noticed a gap present.” It was impressive how you distinguished the basic ability to use computer programs like word from actually interacting with others digitally, and how that relates to the overall gap known as the digital divide.

  4. I think you did a great job at providing a first-hand account of how the digital divide affects schools in lower socioeconomic areas. I really like how you focused so much on your experiences going through school and being able to look back and recognize the digital divide that existed all around you. Also, I like the example of your friends struggling to integrate into the way education is now correlated so much with using technology. Did your libraries in schools have computers with internet access? Did you begin to see a shift towards more technology use in the classroom in your later years in grade school? Additionally, I think it would be interesting if you had some experiences of friends without internet access or smartphones and how they navigated the divide. -CRM

  5. I think you did a great job overall on your blog post. I do think you were missing commas in multiple places, so I think you could go back and check over for that. I would also love to see you expand on your first encounters with the internet or maybe add in some personal stories or memories. I also love how you hyperlinked the word “hyperlink”. Really great work.

  6. I think it’s great that you emphasize the importance of digital efficiency and how it is a collective responsibility especially when it comes to lower income environments. Upbringing definitely has a huge importance of digital literacy and as the Internet expands, there becomes an increasingly large learning curve for learning how to use the Internet effectively and wisely.

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