Sunday, 23 January 2005

The Fallacy of Digital Equality

Digital divide existed, exists and will continue to be there no matter what best effort we put in.

I am stating a fact, not advocating that we should create greater inequality. On the contrary, by recognising that digital divide is an inevitable fact, we should learn to develop learning for ALL, not only those best equipped.

Technology is advancing too quickly. Even with unlimited resources (in the unlikely political situation that the government is willing to fund all under-privileged areas to "catch-up" with the other areas in technology), the rolling out of the technology will take time. Some will get better technology *before* the other. That may be 1 year or two. This time different is already one or two generation difference in the technology. But the time the last region gets "updated", the other region has already fallen behind. If you look slightly further, in the un-developed world, they are not talking about education. They are struggling to get by the day without feeling thirsty or hungry!

I am not proposing to solve the world's problem. I just want to remind myself that inequality is a matter of hard life.

Developers are typically equipped with fast machine, huge amount of RAM, unlimited bandwidth, largest and highest resolution monitor. It is quite easy to get used to these environment. In the seeking of job satisfaction, it is easy to fall into the trap of using "cool" technique which requires in-proportionate amount of computing power just to display something irrelevant to the learning objectives. I fell into the same trap myself - just have to constantly remind myself that my philosophy is to give everyone opportunity to learn from your own work - not just those having the greatest technology.

But I am still an e-learning participant.

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