Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Sorry everyone, I have five questions this week... for some reason I thought they all were lacking a bit, so I thought if I posted all of them it would make up for it.

Question 1: Is it realistically possible to assume that the Internet should be available to everyone? With the current capabilities and practices, not only countries, but the entire world have to be assimilated. Language differences alone should realistically create barriers while not even looking at culture and physical terrain for a multitude of other barriers.

Question 2: The ideology for what computers can do is definitely present, but again, not really rooted in reality. I hate to side with the skeptic in the Simputer case (although I think it is a great attempt), but just having access to the technology is not enough. What the response uses as an example is not actually the Simputer, but rather the Internet. How is the farmer going to learn about the Internet? How is the farmer going to find a site on soybean costs in Chicago? And the biggest issue is how are they going to find it in their language? Although they seemed to solve a lot of these problems, many other programs do not resolve them, and the technology ends up sitting there like a relic. It isn't only the technology that matters as is stated later on, but how it is taught and implemented by educators.

Question 3: I would like to revisit an earlier question I posed: does technology make us better people? On an individual level, does it make us more knowledgeable, analytical, wise, all-knowing? Does it take away from us, making us more ignorant, less tolerant, less social? Can we make it better to make us better? I think it is very much based on the individual, but maybe we can find a formula that works.

Question 4: Werschauer gives us three different scenarios for the existence of technology (ICT) in education: computer education, computer-enhanced education, and distance education. Do all three of these need to exist? Are they using technology to the best of their ability, or would they be better off without it? Werschauer seems very optimistic to me, so I want to know if we agree. I guess I want to know if ICT opened up more possibilities than if funding went elsewhere (instead of into purchasing technologies).

Question 5: I really like the idea that if online communication supplants and takes over all social interaction it is bad, but if social foundations are already set and ICT is used only as a supplement, it is greatly enhancing the social bonds. My question then is, how young is too young to introduce ICT? At what age can we safely say that social foundations have been made in the real world, now we can help these children enhance that interaction? I feel people are pushing too young, and we haven't seen the outcome yet because ICT is relatively young itself. Is it simply trial and error?

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