iLearning, and The Digital Divide: A Question of iDemocracy and iPad Access in American Schools

I am working on a doctoral course project idea related to social justice and mobile learning in American schools (including issues surrounding open access to information, democratic choices in learning through technology, freedom to use technology tools to learn, digital entitlement, technology barriers and considering economics/equity in learning, etc.)… This story caught my eye about what Obama recently said about iPads (and other technologies) during his 2010 Hampton University commencement speech:

“With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation.” He also seemed to imply that iPads (along with the other technologies mentioned) are straining our democracy. Incidently Obama uses a Blackberry.

His statement is interesting considering the emerging research about iPad learning and apps (such as the recent PBS study related to the app Martha Speaks). As I explore this topic in the next few weeks, I will share more research/resources related to social justice and iPads (as well as other mobile learning devices) as instruments of learning…


About Camille Dempsey, Ed.D.

Cultural Theorist - Educator - Educational Technologist - Media Strategist LinkedIn: Twitter:
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One Response to iLearning, and The Digital Divide: A Question of iDemocracy and iPad Access in American Schools

  1. Hi Camille,

    I’ve really enjoyed your last few posts. Having been reading stuff about the iPad as an assistive technology device, I would actually challenge Obama’s blanket statement that the iPad is a distraction. While it can be, and certainly is a distraction for many of the people who have purchased an iPad, I don’t think it is 100% one way or the other. For people with disabilities who have had to struggle to access the breadth of the Internet that so many of us take for granted, the iPad is proving to be a true blessing! I wonder if anyone in the disabled communities has responded to Mr. Obama’s comments, sharing with him the profound changes in access they’ve had with their iPads?

    For me the use of the iPad, and any technology for that matter, isn’t good or bad. Its not that cut and dried of an answer. Its more about the purpose and intent behind the use of technology. Its about knowing what is needed, the benefits and risks associated with that technology, and making smart choices to use particular tools in the right way.

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