How does technology helps you end cultural stereotypes?

How does technology helps you end cultural stereotypes?
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Categorization is a basic human urge. It makes things easier for us to process and handle. We sort good apples from the bad ones, yellow from the red ones, pock-marked from the lined ones. The division is our sieve from which we filter reality. If we take a closer look at our society, what is it that we are going to find? Not a jumbled and confusing mass of multi-minded beings, but very neatly drawn classes and castes under which difference has been settled since times immemorial.

Chaos frightens us, so we order it. That is what we do.

Similarly, a school is a living and breathing microcosm of society at large. Where there are classes in society, there are cliques in schools. In one corner, you will find the ‘lab-coats,’ the super-intelligent group of geeks and science nerds, top of their class and comic-hoarders. In the next niche, you will see the uber-macho ‘jocks’, with more muscle than brains. Then, there are the ‘girly-girls’, queens, and fashion divas, for whom looks are more important than books. ‘Goths’ are also present, hovering around shadowy corners in their black overalls. Plus the ‘weird’ unpopular lot who nobody cares to remember. The list goes on. It is the stuff of movies. What does it entail?

It shows that stereotyping is essentially human. It leads to the creation of lop-sided yet eternal labels that are set deep in the minds of those who do the labeling, and of those who are labeled. Its perpetually-renewing conditioning has a lot of negative implications, especially in the education sphere. Have you ever seen nerds switch places with school jocks, patrolling hallways wearing especially customized varsity jackets? Ever happen to witness school jocks spending more time in the science lab? I am sure you have not because that is how they have been conditioned to behave, all thanks to the clique culture. Even teachers’ attitude reinforces the segregating culture in some way.

In a fully diverse classroom, a teacher’s attention is divided and even biased, if I may use the word, to some extent. It would go in favor of those who are actually listening to what is being delivered, and against those who do not even care to lend an ear. That is a natural human instinct, and no matter how hard the teachers try, differentiating frames have been ingrained in their minds, dictating their behavior. That is how the stereotypical culture works.

Cliques encase students in tight, suffocating boxes. They prevent students’ mental growth, mutual co-existence, and expansion of perspectives. They place a heavy toll on students’ productivity. They put forth into the future not humble and congenial leaders, but a blinkered and class-focused lot.

This begs the question: Is there a way to think outside this clique box? Is there a means through which students could remove the labels set on them and be comfortable in their own skin? Is there a chance that they could fly harmoniously, hand-in-hand, into the future?

I believe there is, and technology is its name. Use of technology for educational purposes, and not an education limited to classroom and course, but the education of social acceptance, which boosts confidence and does away with a clique or stereotypical culture. Following are the ways technology opens paradigms and promotes healthy student behavior:

Self-Expression

Cliques persist because student bodies hesitate to venture outside their circles and interact with each other. Satisfied with what they have been fed by society, they do not question anything but assume a mere shadow as the ultimate truth. Not only do they remain unacquainted with the ‘real’ self of others, but they also do not even know themselves in the truest sense of the word.

So, the first step in bridging the clique gap is finding one’s lost self, and then bringing it to the forefront. This is where technology helps a lot. By introducing multiple media for self-expression inside a classroom, technology enables students from across different cliques to find their own, unique, and original voice. To remove their masks and freely express themselves via words (using Evernote), images (using Storify), videos (using Pixorial), or even comic strips (using Storyboard that), etc. To let others know that they are more than what they’re deemed by society.

This is how technology inside a classroom empowers self-conscious students to be comfortable in their own skins, using personalized tablets, because confidence is the key that unlocks productivity. All you need is a strong internet connection that helps you stay connected to your fellow mates. So, if you are looking for high-speed internet service, then choose Spectrum Internet and learn about all the available options in your area.

Cross-Clique Collaboration

Once the students are fully aware of their own capabilities, hitherto smeared by the clique labels, they’ll become curious about whether the other person is more than just a tag too. Here, technology can be used to water the seed of explorative interaction. With rounding-up activities, like the following, arranged in a classroom, a cross-clique collaboration becomes more than just a dream. It wears the shape of reality.

Collective Brainstorming

Usually, students sit in clique-oriented groups inside a classroom, and more often than not, there’s friction between the groups. However, there is a way to close the gaping chasm between them, i.e. through educative technology. With brainstorming, apps like Creately, SpiderScribe, ChartTool, etc., students can be encouraged to get mixed up and talk about ideas in a creative way, all the while technologically mapping the flow of the conversation. Even a simple topic can be viewed from unique angles, provided by the students because of mutual interaction.

Project-Handling

Students from one clique are reluctant to work with those of another on classroom projects. However, technology like Keypals can bring them together. Once paired, they can communicate and share their original perspectives using this pen-pal tech. Especially, when they are motivated to go outside and do fieldwork, they can actually get to know each other, develop their ideas in mutual consonance, and then upload their findings on the online classroom platform like Shutterfly. This will inspire others to cross their clique borders and do an open talk session.

Peer Reviewing

Let us focus on studies now, and see how technology succeeds in bringing students together on an authentic plane, in this case. Today’s classrooms are student-centric, and peer review is a common practice that is employed by teachers worldwide. When advanced educative technology, like My Reviewers or Clickers, etc. is introduced into this formula, then a classroom becomes a highly-interactive digital environment. Students assess each other’s original insights and inputs, and in this way know each other’s real caliber.

Global Interaction

Another technologically operated maneuver that can open clique-bound students’ minds about overthrowing tags and mingling up is the one that allows communication with a global village. Using Skype or Glovico inside a classroom, students can see how people across the world live in their native setups, and interact with them to get a broader spectrum of views disregarding stereotyping, etc. This is how they will finally be able to think outside the box, learn to go beyond their restricting concepts, and grow harmoniously with each other.

Wrapping Up

Technology is bringing a revolution to all walks of life. In the 21st century, we have seen how trends in society shift and shape with help of social media and other technological advancements. The future is full of technological surprises.