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Visual Education and The Internet Camp: A Study of Underprivileged Children and Their Web Pages
Unformatted Document Text:  9 Educational opportunity and access to information are equated with that which the powerful and wealthy have and the poor lack, and equity along these two lines is usually assessed in terms of technological access. However, “a decade of research on the educational use of computers in schools indicates that computers maintain and exaggerate gender, racial, and social class inequalities” (Tarpley, 2001, p. 554). Children need more than the computers, but decisions at governmental levels often direct an attack on the “gaps” that exist between the haves and the have-nots with technological fixes. Technological access alone does not deliver the promise of the communication media. While necessary, it is not sufficient to empower the “have-nots” with a full complement of what the “haves” possess: the opportunity of transformative interactivity, not only to read, but to write, not to listen, but to speak. In fact, computers and the Internet may actually widen the social distance between the traditional “haves” and “have-nots” (Tarpley, 2001). This problem is also known as “the digital divide.” Being underprivileged often means that a child is also “at-risk.” Hixson (1993) defines the term at-risk as a problem involving the educational system, parents, teachers, students, and society. Students are placed at risk when there is incongruity between their needs and the ability or willingness of an educational system to respond to them in a way that supports or enables social, emotional, and intellectual growth. As the degree of incongruity grows, so does the chance that they will fail to complete their schooling, or benefit from it in a manner that ensures they have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to be successful in the next stage of their lives, i.e., successfully pursue post- secondary schooling, training, or a meaningful career. Also, their participation in and contribution to the social, economic, and political life of the community and society as a whole are placed at risk. The children who participated in the Internet Camp fell into either of the two

Authors: Mullen, Lawrence.
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9
Educational opportunity and access to information are equated with that which the powerful and
wealthy have and the poor lack, and equity along these two lines is usually assessed in terms of
technological access. However, “a decade of research on the educational use of computers in
schools indicates that computers maintain and exaggerate gender, racial, and social class
inequalities” (Tarpley, 2001, p. 554). Children need more than the computers, but decisions at
governmental levels often direct an attack on the “gaps” that exist between the haves and the
have-nots with technological fixes. Technological access alone does not deliver the promise of
the communication media. While necessary, it is not sufficient to empower the “have-nots” with
a full complement of what the “haves” possess: the opportunity of transformative interactivity,
not only to read, but to write, not to listen, but to speak. In fact, computers and the Internet may
actually widen the social distance between the traditional “haves” and “have-nots” (Tarpley,
2001). This problem is also known as “the digital divide.”
Being underprivileged often means that a child is also “at-risk.” Hixson (1993) defines
the term at-risk as a problem involving the educational system, parents, teachers, students, and
society. Students are placed at risk when there is incongruity between their needs and the ability
or willingness of an educational system to respond to them in a way that supports or enables
social, emotional, and intellectual growth.
As the degree of incongruity grows, so does the chance that they will fail to complete
their schooling, or benefit from it in a manner that ensures they have the knowledge, skills, and
attitudes necessary to be successful in the next stage of their lives, i.e., successfully pursue post-
secondary schooling, training, or a meaningful career. Also, their participation in and
contribution to the social, economic, and political life of the community and society as a whole
are placed at risk. The children who participated in the Internet Camp fell into either of the two


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