In class on Monday, we had an in-depth discussion about the Gutenberg Myth in conjunction with today’s technology-obsessed world.
This brought to mind several things – in particular, I was most interested in the idea that although technology is so wonderful and does such good for those with access to it, it also creates an even bigger gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. Consider this on a small scale – it seems like everybody has an iPhone or an Android on campus. This connects all of BSU, whether someone is inside the four walls of a classroom or driving home for a long weekend. So, yes, it’s great. But at the same time, this makes it all the more obvious when someone does not have access to this technology. When smartphones were first introduced, it was a big deal to see someone with one in hand. Now, it’s a big deal to see someone without them. This is a very visible gap dividing students today.
On a much larger scale, we spoke in class about how although children in America and China may have access to child-oriented apps on computers and tablets, children in poverty-stricken countries could never even dream of it. This puts these countries at a severe disadvantage when it comes to technological literacy and, some may argue, learning.
We’ve heard all of this before, and we’ve discussed it in class numerous times. But this week, I got to wondering if maybe the children in third world countries have the right idea.
Sure, it’s great that American children are so intelligent and are practically born with tablets in their hands. We can talk until we’re blue in the face about how educational these tools are – but what, exactly, are they teaching kids? Fractions? Letters? How precisely are our kids better than African children for knowing how to read a Dr. Seuss book from a Kindle?
Technology has changed who we are as human beings – it has changed our interests and the way we interact with each other… and not necessarily in a good way.
So yes, I think that it is creating an even larger gap between the haves and the have nots. But maybe we have the wrong idea about who’s who – maybe the have nots are really the ones who still have access to interpersonal skills and empathy that doesn’t stem from a screen.