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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Question: Does moving all my students to the digital realm enhance or detract accessibility

Based on my post on my class math blog about going paperless, a parent wrote:

While I certainly appreciate the efforts to go paperless and the expediting of information that this system affords, I am concerned that we are forgetting a group of kids who may not have access at home. If the school wants to continue touting diversity and accessibility, is there enough flexibility in your system to ensure that all kids will get the same level of understanding and value? Do they get time and access at school?

My response was this:

Great comment about accessibility.

I keep this in mind at every step.

There is access at school to laptops in the humanities, including a full set in my classroom. They can be used during tutorial times as well as after school. I have noticed over the years that our students are ever more capable in the digital realm and it is the adults who find it difficult to keep up. I also firmly believe that it will be the future of written communication as well as the new "library" of humanity, whether we want this or not. So the more I can do today to help them take advantage of this medium, the better they will be. From my perspective, the School has made communication via technology easier and easier and this, in turn, creates other levels of accessibility both in school and from without.

I think I am addressing accessibility on several different levels. Given that I am at a private school, the whole word "accessibility" and its accompanying "diversity" has a different slant from how I used to understand it is the public schools I worked at. But I think that if I were in a public school, hopefully with a computer lab of the sorts that exist in many poor schools even here in California, I would find ways to incorporate much of what I am doing. In fact, I believe it may be even more important to do so for kids of less accessibility (let's just call a spade a spade; we are talking about poor kids and immigrant kids). They need more access via the school than my typical student in my private school has just in order to "catch up".

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