Friday, September 28, 2007

"Being Digital"

Photo of Nicholas Negroponte, courtesy of Nicholas Negroponte's website

The digital divide is rampant amongst our schools! This article underpins my belief that students need adequate access to technology tools in school. The 21st Century allows for vast amounts of knowledge to be explored. How is it possible for teachers and administrators to narrow down this knowledge into workable ideas?

It is apparent that collaboration is a leadership skill. In accord with Negroponte, I believe schools in digital harmony will not be subject to the digital divide. Further, as Negroponte suggests, "a new generation is emerging from the digital landscape free of the many old prejudices." This suggestion creates an ideal scenario with which to utilize Negroponte's four powerful qualities of decentralizing, globalizing, harmonizing, and empowering. Perhaps, then in an idyllic digital world prejudice and dissention will be only a history lesson where students can learn about the tribulations of 20th century school violence in a field trip to a museum similar to the Museum of Tolerance.

Student's today have grown up in a multimedia age. Some have surpassed teachers' and administrators' knowledge regarding browsing such as the imaginative agent-based systems mentioned in the article. This is particularly true when it comes to online digital gaming. Massively Multiplayer Online(MMO)gaming is all the rage right now and is a competitive market. Games such as World of Warcraft, where players subscribe to a monthly or yearly gaming world, is one such example of MMO gaming. I admit, ashamedly, that I do not know how to play these games myself. My son tried to teach me but my gaming skills are second to nil.

Just imagine the possibilities in Special Education, English as a Second Language instruction, and many other school intervention strategies when students conquer the realm of the digital divide! Their self esteem gets boosted, test scores go up (which makes administrators happy too) and many windows of opportunity open up for all students. On top of that, the prejudices that have divided regular education and alternative education could completely dissolve. We owe it to our future leaders to digitalize education so they can be prepared to conquer the world.

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