The Digital Divide… what we should do about it… or shouldn’t do…

I was just reading this article and then I watched a very stupid music video on a Music TV and I asked myself for the 1000th time… is it all worth the effort? I mean are we living in an illusion? or are we living on planet Utopia? The thing is this, in Malta we also talk about the digital divide – and we hear a lot of moaning and whinging…I cannot do this or I cannot do that, and then we also hear from our young people… “we are NOT interested” – whatever you do or whatever you say – “We ARE NOT interested” – for all your good digital divide propositions… we repeat – “We ARE NOT INTERESTED”… and it seems to get louder each time.

So what happens? If we ignore their voices, we will get scary results – I wonder what would happen… invariably these people would still make it out in the world… possibly the survival of the fittest would apply, but I wonder if the world would still go the way it is going now. So what we’re doing right now… we’re not ignoring their voices, we are bending backwards to meet their demands – we’re offering an easy way to reach tertiary level Education and labeling this as ‘Education accessible for all’. And I try to observe what is happening as a result of that. In Malta, at least, though through other blogs I do realize that situations are comparable elsewhere, we see the emergence of self-organized learning which has nothing to do with schooling. The problem is that at higher Education level, qualities which students show are quite lacking… maybe not across the board, but across my Faculty it certainly is.

My 2cents is this… offer opportunities, broaden the visions for learning, remove the blinkers and make learning at the focus irrespective of faculties, domains and proprietary knowledge. And then let the people come. What I observe is this, children learn all the time, but they cannot learn about the adult world – not yet. They are not prepared. Their experiences, and their visions are still related to their egocentric selves. When they are finally prepared to start learning, at Higher Education, doors start closing – possibly because they wouldn’t have followed a linear path in the given and set Faculty direction. So doors close for those who really want to learn whilst the doors are open to those who by chance or opportunity somehow made it through the linear direction. I say we have to stop this if we want to increase the quality of our Education. This is not a matter of offering  one laptop per child only to bridge the digital divide. I think we have to bridge another divide. This is the divide of the status quo… of doing things as we have always done. We need to change from the top – the brain needs to drive the change in the other parts of the body – otherwise we will not get anywhere… and let the needs drive the change. If people have to do something they will do it. If you spoil people, they will not learn… they don’t need to learn… theoretically schools these days are rather useless IF we tell exactly our kids what they need to learn and when to regurgitate it on paper. So what I say is this: OPEN Education, invest in the adults and broaden the opportunities. The change in schools, classrooms and Education will follow the societal needs. It has to… for people to survive.

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