The book Toward Digital Equality: Bridging the Divide in Education, and in particular the sixth chapter, has broadened my scope of cultures quite a bit and flows right into some thougths that have been running in the back of my mind. Lately, I have given quite a bit of thought to the fact that most of the history books that we learn from in school don’t include the contributions of many different groups of people such as Hispanics, African-Americans, and Native Americans. Shamefacedly, I have to admit that I hadn’t thought about just how big our country is and the fact that I know little about the cultural characteristics of Alaskans and Hawaiians. I would like to learn, though. I had not thought about using the Web 2.0 as a venue to build the knowledge base and to teach from there about the sacrifices and impact that so many different cultures have had on creating the U.S.A.
Another point that had blown right by me is the fullness of difficulty involved in teaching across many different cultures. I had not given much thought to differences such as the fact that not only do some cultures not have the same first language, but members of those cultures who do share the mother tongue may use the language in different ways according to their living patterns. Then there is the problem of etiquette, protocol, and social custom. The book also mentioned the fact that some groups are ahead of others in technological expertise even among like cultures. I heard a saying once that I like very much and think it applies here, “Each one, teach one.” A way to spread the knowledge is for us to help each other. It would be great if everyone had an equal representation.
Still another point that had not occupied much of my thought is the fact that underrepresented culture groups probably aren’t as likely as others to spend time learning to use new technology because they may think that most of what is taking place there is irrelevant to them. This blog http://dancingnancy533.wordpress.com/2008/02/03/how-does-variation-in-culture-affects-technological-adoption/ makes the following statement and asks a question, “Technology is of the future and we won’t all cultural groups to be apart of it. But, should we push them so hard to accept it into their lives? Or, should we back off and let them decide when the time is right?” My gut reaction is to reply in the affirmative that definitely the younger ones coming up in school need to be educated in technological matters or else I fear for what their futures will hold. Then again, sometimes I wonder – What are all of these jobs that we hear rumors about new technologies, the Internet, and World Wide Web producing? The fact is though we need to learn as much as we can about using computers because they are a part of our everyday lives.
While reading another classmate’s blog, I came across this statement, ” The variety of classroom culture here in Kentucky varies from the classroom culture in other parts of the United States, or for that fact, a neighboring county. We as educators need to step back and ask ourselves, “What aspects of technology do I need to teach in order for my students to be successful in the future?” from http://stephanniem.uniblogs.org/2008/02/02/how-does-culture-affect-technology-adoption/. One way that I think we could use technology to teach our students is to have these students research the contributions of Appalachians to the U.S.A. and create a blog about it. Often we are made to look like uneducated boors running around barefoot and engaging in illicit relationships with family members. Needless to say, this portrayal does not sit well with me. Some of our students are also deeply affected by this image and their self esteem suffers. Frequently, I hear them say, “Well, what do you expect? I am from eastern Kentucky.” We could do a little culture work of our own and let the world know that there is a great deal that they just don’t know about us – yet.