I came across an interesting article in my twitter feed this morning. The NY Times had a story about the growing digital divide in the US.
The digital divide used to mean that poor kids didn't have access to the same technology as their wealthier peers. While that gap has been narrowed, it does still exist. With the cost of technology coming down all the time, one can assume that gap may one day be nonexistent.
The 21st century digital divide isn't about access to technology, it's about how much time is being wasted using technology. The story chronicles how kids of all socioeconomic classes are wasting time every day watching shows, playing video games, and hanging out on facebook. Without going back to check the specific numbers, kids whose parents didn't graduate college spend 11.5 hours a day, A DAY!, using technology to entertain themselves, while kids whose parents did graduate from college only, ONLY!, spend 10 hours a day.
Pardon me while I hide my kids' ipods.
Now don't get me wrong. Computers and such are great. But as a senior researcher at Microsoft admits in the article, we have failed to account for how computers are actually used. Kids aren't spending 11.5 hours a day honing their math and reading skills. They're simulating war and butchering the English language on social media, and other fun stuff of course.
The use of technology in education is pervasive and unquestioned. School districts spend a ton of money on technology, and while I don't have a problem with it per se, I do sometimes wonder if all that money is being well spent. The ways things are going, it won't be long before every kid gets a lap top on the first day of school. Technology, the savior of the American public school system. What do people think kids are going to do with these free lap tops? Their homework? That's cute.
Not gonna happen my friends.