Technology is continually offering us new opportunities to connect people. While some lament the loss of social interaction due to technology, I think the opportunities it provides us for connection are more important. There is room for debate and many hold the position that technology divides us or isolates us from each other. While this may be the case for some, our nature is to connect with people. It is a basic human need to seek social interaction. Given a tool that can connect us with anyone and anywhere on the planet, our nature will be to find ways to fit it into our need for social connection.
Geogebra knocks down barriers! My student, who is learning English as a Second Language, is able to practise his fractions skills in Spanish! pic.twitter.com/sKqqUAjfh2
— Angela Goodman (@angelagoodman0) February 22, 2018
This is a recent tweet from one of our teachers in DDSB, Angela Goodman. A student who is a recent immigrant has very limited English language ability but is able to use technology to knock down this barrier. Using Google Translate, the student is able to read the Geogebra content in his native language. Without this tool, it would be very challenging to try to separate the understanding this student has in mathematics from his understanding of the language. Removing the language barrier gives this student a path to be successful in other areas of school while they work to improve their language skills, rather than have their learning be placed on hold until their language better serves them in school.
This is but one concrete example of technology helping to connect rather than isolate, to allow communication where there would have been misunderstanding. The examples of this, however, are numerous. From assistive tools to access to information and expertise, technology can be an amazing connector for learners.
How is technology knocking down barriers for you?