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IBM’s “5 in 5” forecast of innovations that will alter the technology landscape within the next five years includes the prediction that mobile technologies will close the digital divide between rich and poor. In the very near future, mobile devices and over-air networks will enable disconnected and disenfranchised populations to circumvent traditional infrastructures to participate in the global economy. However, substantive innovations in the technology of learning must complement our advances in global connectivity.
Technology’s most profound impact on underserved populations can be its ability to improve education, but simply “having” technology is not enough. A computer, for instance, can never replace a good teacher. And internet access and computer labs alone cannot improve instruction. But when technology is well integrated into the classroom and coupled with teacher training, it can enable essential improvements in teaching and learning.
Integral to our corporate citizenship efforts, IBM is forging public-private partnerships to create a smarter education system by strengthening the focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) competencies. In addition, we have longstanding programs that continue to open new possibilities to people around the world.
- Our Reading Companion program uses IBM speech recognition technology to help children and adults gain literacy skills in English.
- In partnership with TeachEngineering and the New York Hall of Science, Teachers TryScience provides new resources, specifically designed for science teachers struggling to provide high quality, hands-on problem based learning.
These are just a few of the many ways – from helping our retirees transition to teaching, to reinforcing our commitment to mentoring and school volunteerism – in which IBM is helping to improve the technology of learning that must accompany the advances that will close the digital divide.