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.
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.