Monday, February 14, 2011

Providing Equal Access

Though to me the heart of the matter of providing equal access is if you're going to require things to be done on a computer, then you need to allow ample time for them to be completed, it also goes beyond that in a lot of ways. Though time is always an issue to teachers in one way or another, I think providing time for students to do projects is fine, but what about students who don't have computers at home so they're less familiar with how to use them? In giving them 30 minutes to work on a project and giving a student who's been using a computer since age 4 30 minutes to work on that same project- who is bound to accomplish more?

To me that's where providing equal opportunity differs from providing equal access. I think giving everyone time in class is providing them with an equal opportunity to do work. I think providing equal access means incorporating technology fully into your curriculum and going over basics in the beginning of the year so that by the time big projects come around, students are a lot closer than they would be in level to one another. Obviously, some students will be better at certain things than others, but in providing a foundation and assessing where students are in terms of technology skills in the beginning of the year, it will make the life of both teacher and student a lot easier!

If you have two students who are frustrated with technology based learning all year because it's far less familiar to them than to the rest of the class, they are going to disengage in learning very quickly and turn their back on any project, research, social networking, etc that is based within technology. If you take the time to give everyone a foundation in the beginning of the year- let students familiar with technology explore further, let students less familiar get their bearings- you will then be providing not only equal opportunity when you give everyone the same tools and time to work on something, but you will also be truly working towards equal access. Giving students the tools and foundation to access information and technology in the same way as students who may already be familiar with it.

I think this will provide a challenge to teachers, especially because many teachers already feel that they have an overabundance of curriculum to get through before state testing or in school observation, but our job as teachers is to prepare students for their future and help them succeed. Success breeds success, so when a teacher provides a student with time to familiarize themselves with the technology and feel that they have equal skill to their peers, they will be much more likely to succeed than if they feel they're already bound to fail. Equal access isn't just about the same amount of time on a computer, it's about making sure that students can access and understand technology equally, or as close to equally as it gets. To me, that is providing equal access.


  1. I like your approach to building a foundation set out at the beginning of the year. Funny, I didn't even think of the practical sense of this all and how I would get out and lay basics to have it grow. Like the strategy!

  2. I like your opinion. I never thought to think of what different levels the students are on when it comes to their ability to use technology. I suppose I just assumed that most of the students today are digital natives. This is a tough debate, you are right in saying that teachers do not have enough time to begin with nevermind trying to incorporate time for each child to explore and work on projects. Good job!

  3. I really like your opinion on equal opportunity for students and technology. Time is a huge impact to whether students can fully enjoy the benefits of technology. Great Job!