Are we taking into account the culture surrounding our students?

Historical periods are often named for the influence of technology on the period. The Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Industrial Revolution and Information Age are all closely related to the influence of a particular technology or group of technologies had on livelihood, people and governments during that period in history. As technology evolves and changes over time, a culture will either change with the technology or disappear or, in some rare cases, the culture will shun the technology and remain isolated from the rest of the world.

As educators, we cannot afford to allow our students to become isolated from the technologies used in our field nor can we isolate ourselves from the technology used daily by the third millennials (gamers).

Understanding the intricate relationship between culture and technology is critical in understanding how culture and technology support each other in the education of the youth of a culture. In Nieto’s book ( 2004) Affirming Diversity, the author describes culture as “The ever-changing values, tradition, social and political relationships and worldview created and shared by a group of people bound together by a combination of factors that can include a common history, geographic location, langaugae, social class, and/or religion, and how these are transformed by those who share them.”

To foster learning in the context of culture, we must understand that culture changes as the values, social relationships and worldviews of individuals change and part of that change is a direct result of the influence of technology. Where is the change in a society more rapid or far reaching than in the realm of technology? When groups fail to change their culture with the technology, they risk isolation.

Therefore, when examining how to foster human development through education, the cultural influnces of teachers, administators and students must all be considered with a special emphais on the culture surrounding the students. We know from a variety of research (Delpit, 1995; Gay, 2000; Nieto, 2004: Villegas & Lucas, 2002) that successful schools place their students’ cultures at the center of their missions and curriculum. For education to be successful, elements of the culture surronding the third millienials (gamer generation) must be carefully considered and integrated into our curriculum.


Delpit, L. (1995). Other people’s children: Cultural conflict in the classroom. New York:
The New Press.

Gay, G. (2000). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research and practice. New York: Teachers College Press.
Grossman, L. (2006). Person of the Year. Time Magazine. Retrieved August 10, 2010 here.

Nieto, S. (2004). Affirming diversity: The sociopolitical context of multicultural education. New York: Longman.

Villegas. A. M.. & Lucas. T. (2002). Educating culturally responsive teachers: A coherent approach. New York: SUNY Press.

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Karl Kapp
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