The UK group who reported on schools did an excellent job of evaluating the quality of computer use and access and provided an interesting contrast to the number-spewing studies we've read about our own country. I find much more value and reality in the UK study, but wonder if such an evaluation is possible in a country the size and population of the U.S. How can people exploring the digital divide in America evaluate the qualitative reality of it? Do we have these sterile statistical reports because that is the best research anyone can do?
One instructor interviewed in the UK study mentioned that schools cannot be social equalizers and that social engineering is not their responsibility. Should public schools attempt to provide more access to computers for children who do not have them at home as opposed to children who do have them at home? Is public school the great equalizer or place of opportunity for one and all? If not, what is to become of the have-nots? Where will society offer them opportunity?
After reading Larry Cuban's book, I question why there has continually been so much concern with increasing efficiency in the classroom. Yes, we are a nation obsessed with progress and saving money. Yet what do we expect from children? That they'll learn faster, get to work sooner? Exposure to technology is important to a child's development, but so are a myriad of other things. Computers are essential to a modern education, but it worries me that they are viewed by some as vehicle for "faster" learning.