There is a question that arises as one stops and observes different school districts around the nation and even around the world. Do we provide equal opportunities for all the different grade levels and for the different type of students to learn efficiently? Some educators, administrators, and school boards would state that this is impossible while others would say that it is possible, but the road to reach this equal opportunities will include much time to change, funding for supporting the change, and cooperation among the teachers.
Recently, I was teaching at the Liberty Center School district and as I was talking to some of the students, they were informing me that it was not right that younger students were getting to use numerous different types of technology and the older students did not get the luxury. An example they gave is that the younger students get to use iPads and iPods while the older students get in trouble if they use them in class. Whether students with disabilities, students with English as their second language, young students, or older students; equity needs to be established as similar as possible amongst the grade levels and students. It is true that technology has really proven to be largely impacting for students with disabilities and ESL students. This is a great fact as the book Web 2.0 new tools, new schools described, but if the teachers put too much attention to certain students, then inclusion will not be occurring, but the student roles of seclusion and inclusion will reverse. In similar thought, if technology has proven to be productively impacting to students with disabilities and ESL students, will technology not also show impact for the rest of the students?
The design to bridge the digital gap with Web 2.0 tools could fall if teachers and education systems do not monitor their resource allocation. I feel that the students I talked to at Liberty Schools would be thrilled that the younger grades are using higher technology if they too could use it to learn. Furthermore, all these upper grade levels need to know the reasoning behind the technology use. As an education system, it is important for teachers to be logical with the higher grades and show evidence behind the thought process to mentor them for higher thinking. To learn about further information, tools, and resources for students with disabilities and or families that have little English speaking experience, check out the websites below.
The last thought I would like to share is the question found in chapter 8 of Web 2.0 new tools, new schools: “Can assessment be authentic and simultaneously prepare students to succeed in the standardized testing that they will face? Think about it, respond, and we will see what needs to be discussed about this topic.