This project is a virtual representation of the technology-equipped classroom and the inequalities that lie hidden in it. My research on the digital divide does not necessarily lend itself to a visual format – most of it is numbers, statistics, and demographics. The information, however, is incredibly important. Modern technology is often portrayed as “the great equalizer,” widely accessible and immune to human biases. Unfortunately, this is not the reality. While there are many positive ways in which digital media and technology can be used, it is vital to acknowledge the ways in which it is still lacking and the areas in which it must still advance, which is what I wanted to address in my final project. As we think about the future of technology, we must consider its effects on all people, and be conscious of the ways it can be used to either reinforce or combat white supremacy.
This classroom was made using Google SketchUp, a program that allows you to design and create 3-D models, as well as access models other users have shared. Using this program, I created the classroom, then added desks, chairs, computers, and a SmartBoard. This classroom would be a fairly technologically advanced one, equipped with personal laptops for students to use, and it should be noted that many classrooms do not have access to even this much tech. I created the model so as you “walk” around the classroom, or move through the 3-D replica, you begin to see the facts about inequality, which you couldn’t see from the outside. I wanted this to be representative of the way that we don’t always see the biases and negative sides of technology, and how you often have to look deeper to understand the real implications. The project isn’t meant to be negative or dishearting – I truly believe in the power of media and technology to be a positive force in education, and to make a real difference in the way that knowledge can be accessed by marginalized groups. However, before we get to this point, we must first be aware of the shortcomings, and I hope that my project can bring awareness to some of these issues.