It’s no surprise that computers and technology have become an essential element of our lives. Technology has shifted our primary method of acquiring information and dispersing it, transforming how we interact with the world and how the world interacts with us. Accessible and intuitive, computers have literally connected us to the world. Now, at our fingertips we have the ability to learn a new language, educate ourselves on current events and global issues, and even find remedies to illnesses. Having access to this means education and technology is a privilege we take for granted.

Last month, I attended a speech by Harvard University Professor Calestous Juma outlining the dire need for improved economic development strategies and plans for survival in the global south. His solution: education with the integration of technology. So what does this mean for you?

In the past, Imperialists from the north achieved economic growth through the exploitation of the labour and natural resources of Africa. This has in turn made it difficult to integrate new forms of technology and has placed Africa at a great disadvantage. For years, Africa has been greatly isolated from the advantages that globalization has to offer. For the first time, a convergence of policy interests in industrial and developing countries has formed. This collaboration has formed as a response to the economic crisis that works in a holistically advantageous manner for both parties. Previously, developing countries did not have the necessary money or resources to conduct new research in their universities; further, outdated education and information was passed from one generation on to the next. This new, emerging ideology creates space for the publication and production of scholarly articles and now, via the web, other countries can have access to these new findings.

Calestous encourages the G8 countries to help expand technological developments in the South. Living in a country like Canada, where everyone has access to computers, whether it be at home or in public libraries, in community centres or internet cafes, we depend on this technology. Education and technology have become synonymous with progress and no one should be denied this basic human right.

Instead of wasting countless nights gossiping incessantly over cell phones and internet messaging systems, or entertaining ourselves through computer gaming and videos, we should contribute some positive change in making the world a more cohesive place. And we can, just by donating our old, forgotten computers. We all learn from each other and can gain from each other’s knowledge and experiences. We can only grow as people once we learn to understand each other and it’s about time everyone stood on the same playing field.

Help make things better, give the gift of technology to make positive change a reality.

Ahim Shanmugalingam

Ahim is a Web Editor interning at MaRS. He is in his second year at the University of Toronto at Scarborough studying computer science and statistics. He enjoys conversations as opposed to computers all the time. See more…