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The Impact of Technological Breakthrough on Global Interaction
Global interaction has already become a pivotal component of the present-day world of business, culture, and science. All the aspects of human life in different societies are now interdependent. Globalization resulted from a whole number of factors, the most influential of which is the progress in technology development. Modern technologies have managed to shrink spaces and accelerate time. As a result of the technological breakthrough, people of all countries have become closely connected socially (though the use of various means of distant communication), economically (being involved in commodity exchange), politically (through international relations), culturally (due to extensive migration, which fosters the exchange of values and traditions), and even environmentally (sharing the same ecological problems caused by technologies) (Narula, 2014).
Thus, global interaction has become continuous and triggered the creation of a global network. However, there emerged opposite views on the effects of such interconnection. On one hand, technological development has given people an opportunity to keep in touch even being separated by huge distances but, on the other hand, there has appeared a concern that the Internet aggravates alienation, isolation from society, and asocial behaviors (Narula, 2014).
Despite the fact that the Internet is considered to be the main factor that triggered increased global interaction, there exist other technological achievements that have made their contribution: for instance, new transportation technologies have made it easier to travel the world and enabled people to make connections across the globe; besides, they have increased the mobility of labor and established the global trade cycle making it easier for businesses to manage supplies (Narula, 2014).
Consequences of Technological Development for Cultural Diversity
The impact of technologies on cultural diversity is also dubious as mobilization of people can lead to cooperation, mutual enrichment, and creation of a new collective identity, as well as to conflicts, loss of identity, and domination of one group over the other.
The positive influence of global interaction on diversity reveals itself in information exchange that centers around cultural peculiarities requiring tolerance and respect. Cultural awareness has become an issue of paramount significance. Globalization necessitates the preservation of cultural differences and cultural property. Besides, with the development of communication technologies, it has become possible for cultures to shape their own image thereby avoiding misconception, biasing, and neglect (Kim & Bhawuk, 2008).Technological achievements are widely used to preserve the language as a unique constituent of any collective identity. They also provide an unprecedented opportunity for societies to show their economic and political power.
These advantages have become possible due to information sharing through social networks at the global level. Besides, cultures have received an opportunity to share problems that they encounter and resort to other cultures’ assistance in their solution. It is now possible to discuss ideas, methods, strategies, and prospects of further development. Cultures can enrich one another remaining intact in their major values and worldview. Besides, they can share their approaches to policies, education, standards of living, social issues, etc. The overall experience of interaction leads to tolerance, understanding, and cooperation that provide unprecedented opportunities.
The history of humanity proves that sharing cultural achievements has always opened new horizons for the creativity of painters, sculptors, architects, writers, musicians, and other people of art. The main scientific discoveries were also made through the joint effort of the global scientific community. Global interaction in such cases empowered the position of each nation involved.
However, the influence of globalization on diversity could not be exclusively positive. Owing to the free access to the cultural lives of other countries, a lot of people can witness some phenomena that were impossible to see or hear previously as access to them was strictly limited by the borders of the country (Kim & Bhawuk, 2008). The lack of knowledge, coupled with unmonitored access, has led to prejudicing and racial intolerance.
Multinational enterprises have an opportunity to promote consumer culture, which eliminates cultural differences and suggests universal values derived from the western worldview. It can be accounted for by the fact that most computer technologies are created and developed in western counties, which gives them unlimited power over people’s minds throughout the world (Kim & Bhawuk, 2008).
Cultural rights are constantly violated as global networks have made it possible to obtain the intellectual and cultural property of a nation without any consequences. One can easily use traditional dances, songs, tales, costumes, and other cultural components for his/her own purposes. Such kind of property theft is very hard to control or prevent. Cultural heritage, which used to be sacred, has now become public owing to the global technological achievements (Kim & Bhawuk, 2008).
The Influence of Technologies on Education
The availability of education to those countries that never had access to it is one of the greatest achievements of modern society. Technologies gave people not only educational but also employment opportunities.
Distant education has made it possible to step aside from traditional teaching styles and create new approaches. Besides, it has lead to the extensive use of the English language as the international one. A lot of educational institutions now have new language requirements that encourage people to learn. A universal language of teaching and science has simplified the process of knowledge sharing.
However, the negative impact is also evident. Local languages start dying out being replaced by the English language. Moreover, new educational practices are based upon the curricula that reflect the cognitive styles of more influential cultures (Spring, 2008). Non-dominant cultures have to adapt to this and sacrifice their traditions and peculiarities of mentality.
What is my Responsibility, and What Can I Do as an Educator, to Help my Students Best Understand the Nature of Diversity, with Regard to Classroom Use of Online Learning Tools?
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As an educator, I must always bear in mind that no matter how often I touch upon the issues of diversity, my students are always aware of the fact that they are different. If I fail to explain to them how to deal with cultural differences, it can lead to the perception of diversity as something abnormal and unacceptable.
If a teacher wants his/her students to value diversity, the first thing for him/her to do is to understand who these students really are and what cultural backgrounds they have. The globalized world has shifted the focus of education to academic achievements, which makes teachers concentrate on students’ test scores in comparison to others (Loreman, Deppeler, & Harvey, 2010). It is not enough for the educator, who wants to know his/her children as personalities. As a teacher, I should also know what experiences my students have, whether they have different religions, what languages they speak, what their parents are like, etc. It is impossible to teach others about their differences and similarities before you know them yourself.
It is highly important to emphasize that there are more similarities than differences. Online learning tools provide a perfect opportunity to show students how representatives of different cultures establish connections based on shared experiences. These can be international holidays, festivals, sports events, and other activities that promote the idea of friendship and cooperation. Students can watch videos and presentations on the Internet that highlight the necessity of cultural interaction and mutual enrichment. This way they will understand how much they can learn not only from their teacher but also from each other.
However, it is crucial to recognize and accept differences. As an educator, I must promote the idea that these differences are natural and should not become an obstacle for communication. Segregation must be eliminated from their minds. I should involve my students in activities that will show how good it is to be unique especially being a part of a team consisting of absolutely different people. Computers will allow students to do various psychological tests, which will make it evident for them that it is not their skin or their religion that makes them special, but their mind, emotional peculiarities, character, talents, etc. This will help them understand themselves as personalities, not as representatives of a social group.
Besides, I must teach my students that conflicts and arguments do not solve the problem of diversity. For older students, it would be useful to watch documentaries of armed conflicts to make them see what deplorable consequences intolerance can bring about. They should learn how to deal with their differences without resorting to physical force. Only this way they can successfully co-exist in one community.
Kim, Y. Y., & Bhawuk, D. P. (2008). Globalization and diversity: Contributions from intercultural research. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 32(4), 301-304.
Loreman, T., Deppeler, J., & Harvey, D. (2010). Inclusive education. Supporting diversity in the classroom. London, UK: Routledge.
Narula, R. (2014). Globalization and technology: Interdependence, innovation systems and industrial policy. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Spring, J. (2008). Research on globalization and education. Review of Educational Research, 78(2), 330-363.