Saturday, February 28, 2009

Movie Response: Prompt 1

What were some of the other issues influencing the trajectory of these young people?

Travis: He was coming from a town in Texas where only about a fourth of the kids go to college so he was surrounded by people who weren't really on a set career path. Also, he was forced to move schools which distanced him from his friends and he felt that he had to play a variety of different roles in his house (with his sister, mom, and sister's kids). Most kids his age only feel they need to fulfill one role, so that probably resulted in extra outside pressures for him. At the end too, he got really unlucky and his computer didn't work for his final senior presentation. That is one thing I hate about the new wave of technology, technology can be so unreliable! I'm glad he was able to graduate but the fact that he couldn't go to college because of money is really unfortunate. I think that is one of the hugest problems in our country. There are so many smart kids that are willing to go to college and really want to but are disadvantaged financially and that is really discouraging for them. Finding a job straight out of high school that is going to support you enough and allow you to earn money to eventually go to college is asking a lot, and in today's world seems almost impossible.

Kep: I think the biggest issue in Kep's life was his feeling of separation from this country. He experienced life on the outside as an immigrant and was forced to balance three different languages, come from family where half of the people had at some point been in refugee camps, and probably didn't have very much money (because he hadn't been exposed to computers until he attended New Tech). The fact that he had never really experienced technology at a younger age also set him back and made him work harder than everyone else just to get a basic handle on how computers and technology works. 

Sidra: Although I don't feel like the movie really focused on the issues in Sidra's experience I think one of her biggest issues was the fact that in Silicon Valley, California and particularly at Multivista High, there was a very biased way of learning and a very direct path for all students to be involved in careers with technology. Even though the movie was basically arguing that technology is the gateway to the new economy, I feel like there are other parts to high school and life in general than just technology and that it is more important to experience many different approaches to learning depending on how your brain works and what you want to do when you get older. I don't like the idea that all of the kids there are basically following the career paths of their families because I know from firsthand experience (both my parents are in the Minnesota Orchestra) that it's not always ideal or convenient to be doing what your parents do.

Luisa: Similar to Kep, Luisa grew up in a low income family where it wasn't possible to have computers at a young age. She had always been interested in computers, yet had limited access because they were never available to her in her environment. She was forced to work many hours for a few years before being able to buy her own computer. Although her setbacks made her a stronger individual and made her feel more independent from her family, when she got a job working with young kids she talked about how she wished she had been subjected to that type of training in her childhood as well. She definitely encountered the digital divide often throughout her life.

Do you feel that technology provided a solution to those issues? Why or why not?

I don't necessarily believe that the technology itself provided solutions to these issues because I think it was imperative that each of the students had an interest in computers and technology in order for it to help them. The kids were special cases in which they knew they had a passion for technology. For Travis and Kep, I think it was good that they went to a school where they knew that they would be working in a group environment and on a straight path to internships and businesses that would financially support them. However, I think in Kep's case, it was his hard work and dedication that really made him successful and he truly took advantage of New Tech's program (it's important to note that he was clearly an exceptional student which was shown when he won all of those awards at the end). On the other hand, Travis, who was very intelligent (according to this mother) and who was known to be very talented with computers ended up in a completely different situation than Kep, which I think is due to other external factors besides just the digital divide. In the end, having money in the video seemed to be more essential than exposure to technology, although obviously having resources (in general) helps.

Would you have predicted the outcomes or were you surprised to see them?

I definitely figured that Sidra would be successful because it seemed that her school, the community she was surrounded by, and her family all had every opportunity going for them to get successful. I was happily surprised by Kep's case, because I can only imagine how difficult it would be to come to this country, feel uncomfortable, be exposed to technology for the first time in high school (I'm terrible with technology and I've been surrounded by it all my life), and grow up in a low-income family who is also making adjustments to a new environment. I was glad to see that he was able to overcome those barriers. I was really disappointed to see Luisa and Travis' situations because I could sort of see how them not having money would result in not being able to continue on their "technological path to success." As I've said above, I think money is the factor the plays the greatest role in modern society. Technology tends to come with money (not in the movie's specific cases, but in general), yet it doesn't necessarily create a "gateway" to economic success.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, nice job on your response...looks like you took a lot of time on it. I agree about Travis's situation. It sucks that he went to New Tech High for 4 or however many years only to find out he couldn't go to college because he couldn't afford it.