The Availability of Technology to Today’s Students: Potential and Limitations
As an educator in a public high school in the City of Fitchburg, I have a diverse student population. The school-wide presence of both ethnic and socioeconomic diversity poses a challenge for me, but is also what I love about working in an urban environment. I have students whose first language is one other than English, students with children, and students who work many hours a week to provide a supplemental income for their families. I also have students that have cell pones, iPods, laptops and drive their own vehicle to school every day. The challenge I face and strive to overcome is to encourage students to use technology outside of the classroom to further their education and to take an active role in their quest for knowledge.
In my quest to explore whether or not access to technology outside of the classroom, specifically in the home, positively or adversely affects a student’s ability to be academically successful, I researched articles and various studies. I also conducted a survey of my own student population, which I will analyze later. It was important to combine both concrete studies that have been done on this matter and real student opinions and life experience for me to draw my own conclusions. Today’s youth are unique in that they are digital natives. They have grown up in a world of fast action and instant gratification. They would rather text than talk, and constantly need reinforcement and direction. For this exact reason, it is important as educators, that we find our own unique way to capture their attention and motivate them to have a desire for knowledge.
Jeff Carver, of the Department of Computer Science of the University of Maryland, analyzed this facet of technology in his study titled, “Internet and Computer Usage by Low-Income Groups. “ He believes that the disparity of computer and Internet usage by high-income...