Stephen’s Lighthouse highlights–thanks, since this was an article one of my team shared with me and said, “This is all about what you’ve been talking about,”–this quote from Gartner Group’s William Rust in eSchoolNews:

“According to William Rust, research director for the IT research and consulting firm Gartner, there is a new digital divide occurring in schools. Whereas this divide used to refer to whether or not students had access to technology, now it concerns whether schools are using technology effectively to achieve results.”

Rust goes on to identify 4 tech trends but I found myself disappointed by the list. There’s no denying that the list is important but it doesn’t quite live up to the idea of bridging the “new digital divide.” But, can any conversation?

  1. accountability,
  2. the changing nature of learners,
  3. the accessibility of technology, and
  4. the “internal and external demands” that are now placed on ed-tech executives.”

So, big deal. Here’s what I get out of these identified trends:

  1. Accountability – NCLB, Adequate Yearly Progress keep schools focused on high stakes test strategies. The new digital divide simply means we don’t have time to do anything else but prep students to do well on those tests…that includes learning to think creatively while using technology.
  2. Changing nature of Learners – While children may be processing information and ideas in a variety of media formats, it’s clear that since they can’t pass the tests, these media processing skills are a moot point…irrelevant to what happens in the classroom. If they are irrelevant, it is the equivalent of a child having a high sports aptitude but low academics. Some day, the former may overcome the latter but only for a small percentage of learners.
  3. Accessibility of Technology – So what? As technology becomes ubiquitous, it floods every setting, including classrooms. You can buy a bat and ball anywhere but that doesn’t mean you’ll use it in the classroom to learn the parabola of a ball’s flight through the air (I’m bad in math, is this a good example? If not, give me another one…feed my sense of entitlement as a ubiquitous tech user).
  4. Internal and External Demands – I don’t remember what this was about. I’ll have to go re-read the article.

What’s your two minute take?


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