These last several months have shaken my already tenuous confidence in “technology” as an answer to human problems.
- The earthquakes that have circled the globe leaving people without basic resources for days, weeks, months
- The war, drought and succeeding famine that continue to leave people, especially children, at major risk of early mortality
- The governmental practices that leave segments of populations outside of educational infrastructure based on gender, ethnicity, ect
I’m trying to grasp the rightful place of technology and its promise. As long as some basic “infrastructure” is in place, mobile devices give people in these situations contact and perhaps context, but do they really solve any problems? Can they augment education?
- How is a cell phone of great help to a Sudanese child that can’t think clearly due to lack of food.
- How is a mobile device an educational tool to a Haitian child that still has nightmares about the walls falling in around him?
- How can M-learning reach a child from one of China’s many ethnic minorities, who is losing her native tongue because cultural practice limits her ability to express her ethnicity?
Ultimately, it will be other people who assist and educate these at-risk populations not technology. The vehicle of technology in the right hands may make a mobile device a huge blessing to struggling students in far corners of the globe. Nonetheless, it will be the “hands” that matter and not the technology.