By R. Jamila Harris
The advent of massive information available to anyone who has access to an Internet connection may revolutionize the quality of life for millions around the world. Digital education assures that no longer does the geographical location, socio-economic position, physical or mental capacity, race, gender or other societal factor limit one’s educational opportunities.
There are many reasons why most of the world’s population does not have equal access to education, which is a proven path to increased income and improved quality of life. Women in many nations of the globe face the challenge of excelling beyond second class citizen status; religious doctrinal differences alienate many young people from universal educational information; economic status determines who gets formal education based on who can afford the cost and who cannot.
Today, equal access exists when the elements of Internet access are present. An Internet connection: wireless or otherwise, any device (cell phone, tablet or computer), and time to research and study mean that one may seek to fulfill their calling or purpose to the exclusion of many racial, religious, socio-economic, physical or gender barriers.
Digital education has reduced the cost of education, with many course and topic offerings available online free of charge or at greatly reduced costs below the cost of attendance at brick and mortar educational institutions. Best-selling author and Motivational Speaker, Anthony Robbins, once said, “The United States is the place with the lowest available cost for education. If one chooses self-education, the public library system is a free source of limitless information.” Source: Audio program 30 Days to Unlimited Success.
Of special note is all that we have learned about the different generations, our roles and the impact of the Digital Age on our communications. The comparison of characteristics and learning styles of Digital Natives (those born after 1980) and Digital Immigrants is of great significance.
I had a unique experience just a week ago that illustrated the differences. As a Digital Immigrant, I was present during the installation of a satellite TV box and Internet service at an apartment. The Installer was a Digital Native, about 20 years of age. As the satellite scanned and programmed the stations on the flat screen TV, I stopped at a channel airing a re-run of a popular TV show from the 1990’s. As I began to watch the show, the young Digital Native who was not looking at the TV screen, said “is that an old TV show?” I asked him, how do you know that? He said, “because of the sound. It sounds old.” I had to laugh because it was such a graphic example of the distinctions between Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants.
It is amazing that as an entrepreneur and disciple of Jesus Christ engaged in Pastoral Care Ministry, one may pursue higher education and training to expand The Kingdom of God, no matter where they live on the planet. In the past, where it was necessary to physically attend Bible School classes in a typical classroom setting, many of us now enrolled in Trinity online courses would have not had the opportunity to study and grow.
This generation has the most extraordinary tools to share The Gospel, the Good News, throughout the world by Digital Education and Technology. It is a privilege to learn how to fully utilize these tools to expand The Kingdom of God.