Another Digital Divide

early computer
AVIDAC, Argonne's first digital computer, 1953

A survey of 1,200 school ADMINISTRATORS nationwide by the Consortium for School Networking found the number one problem with students using Web 2.0 tools is "wasting time and distractions."

Complaints from TEACHERS included technical glitches and the restrictions their districts place on web access. Teachers also had problems with students using non-authoritative sources, accessing inappropriate materials and giving out personal information online.

See any difference?

Remember when technology in schools meant computer labs and internet connections?New Jersey teachers and students are slowly but increasingly using the tools of Web 2.0 — the so-called second generation of the web that includes creative, collaborative, shared content.

Students are writing on wiki pages, blogging about their classroom activities, recording audio files for band practice, videoconferencing with people around the globe and chatting online about literature.

For a generation that has embraced a joystick and a mouse since they were toddlers, these technologies can help them learn how to be creative, how to communicate and how to work together, said Lisa Thumann, a senior specialist in technology education at Rutgers University’s Center for Mathematics, Science and Computer Education.

"This is what our students are going to see when they get to college, ... when they enter the work force," Thumann said. "Our ultimate goal is to prepare them for the real world."

Many educators say digital technology engages students, shows how what they are studying is relevant to the world around them and helps them retain what they have learned.


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