Wednesday, July 11, 2007

July 10, 2007 Edna Dach

Inspiring! A teacher with 30 plus years of experience is a role model for me. As Edna energetically spoke of her work in Africa with teachers and students I considered the difference she has made in the lives of others. I knew about the $100.00 laptop but I was intrigued to know more. I’ve watched how the growth of wireless networking within Canada has fostered the growth of ubiquitous technology but hadn’t connected how wireless could been a determinant of growth within Africa as well. I do feel a bit unease in that basic needs are still unmet within many African nations. Providing water and food, and functional literacy I had assumed to be their greater needs. The roles of the black market and corrupt political systems also are concerns. I did appreciate Edna’s perspective that despite the obstacles putting tools into the hands of others is a first step. I liked the phrase “Here’s the tool. Let me share it with you. How can you use it?” That is sound pedagogy in a variety of learning circumstances.

Disparate practices of sharing and withholding are also important factors to consider. What are the repercussions for denying technological advances such as handheld devices with internet access? Is the first world disallowing meaningful progress to third world nations? Could an “opening of the world” assist the third world in achieving greater emancipation ? Could this lead to new agricultural methods and foster literacy? On the contrary, is the first world arrogant or capricious in its eagerness to foist highly developed technologies upon the third world? Are there consequences that have not been considered? Is the first world “tinkering” with socio-cultural norms?

As our family circumstances have changed, the role of being empty-nesters could afford new personal opportunities for international teaching. The connection of technology to global citizenship and the humanities took a new twist in today’s video conference.

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