Monthly Archives: April 2009

Week 11 Act 2 d Local digital divides

This activity is based on a table of Individual internet access by gender and age, 2001-02 to 2007-08

What evidence is there in Table 3 that the digital divide in the UK is narrowing between:

    1. young and old?

The date in the tables shows that since 2001/2 and 2007/8 the internet usage of all age categories has increased between 26 and 35 percent, with the noticeable exception on the  70+ category in which it only increased  by 9 per cent.

Internet usage in all years was significantly higher in all years for 16-19 year olds, however the rate of increase was slower than in all age categories other than 70+, which means these age categories are catching up.

For me these figures suggest that generally the digital divide is narrowing  but deepening between age ranges. In other words the majority are catching up but the over 70s are rapidly being left behind.

    1. men and women?

The difference in total usage for men has always been between 2 and 5 per cent more than in women.  The results appear to indicate that the divide was narrowing towards the middle of the decade with the differences shrinking to 2 and 3 percent between 2004/5 and 2006/7 however the latest results indicate that the divide is widening again with a difference of 4 per cent in 2007/8

I am not sure what this can tell us about a digital divide, other than it fluctuates

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wk 11 A2b: Creating a table of data

Click here for my list of 5  S American Countries and their profiles

Wk 11 A1f Discussing the debate

Is knowledge advanced by these means?

Yes I think looking at topics like this in the form of a game (which is what I feel the debate is) does provide the opportunity and incentive to research and present detailed information which advances knowledge

Darling-Hammond said: ‘It seems to me that both Houses are right. And it appears that, in many ways, both Houses actually agree.’ Do you agree with her?

In the early stages of the debate it did appear that they were both arguing that technology has the potential to improve education in conjunction with good teaching practices and practitioners.

Do you think the debate was affected by the electronic format?

I think having the debate electronically, rather than face to face meant that all point could be considered and reflected upon.

Were you surprised by the results?

I wasn’t suppressed as I felt the opposition had the stronger case but for me the proposer made the better argument, which is why I think it was such a close call.  I guess this highlights a problem with a debate of this kind.  The outcome can depend on the quality of the debater rather than the quality of their argument.

Wk 11 Act 1 e- Reading the closing speeches

The role of the moderator
Before I started this exercise I had expected the role of the moderator to be impartial and summarise the arguments whilst being carful not to disclose their own opinion.  This was not the case, not only did the moderator put forward his own thoughts throughout the debate, he also tried to stir things up a bit by pointing out flaws in the arguments and widening the debate out with broader questions.

Wk 11 Act 1 d Reading other comments

I felt that all three commentators summarised and built upon some of my own reflections on reading these arguments.  Linda Darling-Hammond and Don Knezek questioned what learning should be in the 21st century and how it’s quality should be assessed, while Kevin Bushweller summed up my feelings that even if there are many technologies that, on reflection, have little impact “To discourage innovation in educational technology in any country would clearly be a mistake.”  I guess the later comments were slightly more powerful as they built upon what was said before, and they had to look at things from a slightly different angle to avoid repetition.

Wk 11 Act 3 C- Reading the Rebutals

The Proposer’s rebuttal
The proposer  initially cites an article about the use of technology as well as the oppositions opening statement, claiming they share a nuanced style in which the benifits of technology are discussed in potential and exceptions.  He goes on to answer a question from a contributor about the type of technology being discussed.  Throughout his rebuttal he unpicks the oppositions opening statement and point out that they are have the same opinion that the technology has the positional to make a major improvement, however this does not mean that they are making an improvement.
The Oppositions Rebuttal
In his rebuttal, Dr Kozma appears to come out fighting, claiming the research results clearly support his argument (although I feel that contradicts his opening comments in which he said there was confusion over what factors affected research results).  He highlights two cases studies where technology has made a difference.  He clearly makes the point that in these cases , well trained teachers work with the technology and can improve results.  However I don’t think he sufficiently answered the argument because he talks about specific case studies rather than the overall situation the motion suggests.
The Moderators rebuttal remarks
The moderator comments that the rebuttals may be stronger than the opening statements and notes that in the opening statement it looked like the two parties were in danger of agreeing.  There is some discussion of definitions and separating quantity from quality. He sums up by questioning the strength of the opposition.

Wk 11 Act 1 (A&B)- the classic debate

Based on a debate of the motion”This house believes the continuing introduction of new technologies and new media adds little to the quality of most education.”
http://www.economist.com/debate/overview/121

A-     Jotting down some thoughts
I would have to vote against the notion as I believe that although not all technologies (ok most) are used to their full potential, I think that useing a wide range of up to date technologies widens the opportunities for learner and gives them a greater preparation for life beyond the classroom.

B- The opening remarks
The Proposers opening remarks
In his opening statement the proposer identified areas where technology hs transformed human life singling out education as an exception.  He goes on to single out the open university as an exception but agues that all too often technology is seen as an add on for education which can magicly produce the success of “higher volume, consistent quality, lower cost”.
The oppositions opening remarks
The opposition immediately claries his postion with the statement “new technologies and new media do make a significant contribution to the quality of education, at least under certain circumstances.”  He goes on to cite some seemingly conflicting reports.  He discusses why the finings from these reports may not be as clear cut as they first seam
The moderators opening remarks
The Moderator opens by inviting questions and restating the proposition and goes on to propose brader questions such as  “[Could] technology could in principle be a vital source of advancement in learning-if only it was to be implemented with enough brilliance and resources.” The moderators questions are quite leading  and appear to be questioning the opposition more than the proposal.

To some extent I feel the proposer and opposition bith try to prempt the potential counter arguments.
Going by these introductions I suppose my vote would change to no because so far there seems to be a strong argument that Technology could improve education, but generally doesn’t.