Education Technology Lays the Groundwork for Digital Equity
Millions of students around the world have been forced to continue their education despite illnesses, bereavement, and financial constraints for more than two years. Educators, school officials, and school districts worked feverishly to provide remote learning options almost overnight. However, there have been significant challenges. To begin with, the educational disparity is highly obvious throughout the pandemic.
For example, rural and low-income school districts failed to sustain one-on-one contact and periodic teacher check-ins. Access to online education and digital gadgets became apparent, as did ethnic inequities in educational access. During the lockdowns, more than 40% of African American kids and 30% of Hispanic students in the US K-12 schooling system did not receive any online courses, compared to 10% of white students. This indicates that learners of color experienced 6–12 months of cognitive loss, whereas white students experienced 4–8 months.
Is technology exacerbating inequity in education?
Digital education is supposed to open doors for everyone, not just a select few. However, there is indeed a global digital gap. For example, 40% of rural African American individuals lack home broadband connectivity, contrasted to 23% of white Americans in the same locations. Financial restrictions also impede technology adoption. Around 24% of persons with annual household incomes less than $30,000 do not own a smartphone.
An emphasis on the role of digital infrastructures and advances in digital access could help to eliminate income, location, and ethnicity disadvantages. This entails far more than simply delivering free smartphones to the needy. Families, on the other hand, require access to broadband internet to use devices productively. To address this imbalance, the appropriate technological tools are also required.
This Crisis Can Be Solved Using Technology
Technological advancements have resulted in highly powerful EdTech solutions to enhance the learning environment, ensure high levels of student engagement, and improve academic achievements. These methods can also help to ensure educational equity.
- Personalized Learning Has the Potential to Close Learning Gaps
According to research, the pandemic had a significant influence on K-12 schooling, resulting in a significant learning loss. Whenever the 2020–21 school year ended, students were five months behind us in math and four months behind in reading on average. Educational technology has the potential to provide a high level of personalization and an approach that tailors learning activities to a student’s strengths and shortcomings. Because each student’s interests and academic achievement are taken into account, engagement levels are higher, resulting in favorable outcomes.
Furthermore, unlike in a typical classroom setting, a strong digital learning platform allows students to master learning objectives at their own pace. As a result, it is more successful in closing learning gaps. Formative assessments become simple to give and grade, allowing teachers to better grasp where a kid is in academics. This can enable personalized learning routes and instructor support. Learning analytics provide additional vital information on absence, consistent low grades, and other issues, allowing educators to take corrective action in real-time.
- Online Services That Are Also Available Offline
Blended learning has the possibility of improving academic idea understanding through a construction learning method. The goal is to supplement traditional classroom instruction with digital resources. The teacher generates and/or curates’ online content that students read and interact with before arriving at class. Following that, valuable in-person time can be used to emphasize difficult ideas and engage in differentiated instruction.
We cannot, however, overlook the fact that a considerable proportion of pupils are neglected in terms of internet connectivity. This is why tools that can be accessed while offline are required. For example, access to downloaded content that can be utilized offline can improve inclusion. When the user returns online, functions such as note-taking, saving, and highlighting may be synced. This can assist teachers in digital inclusion among kids.
- Active Learning Methodologies Facilitation
When it comes to digital adoption in the classroom, active learning or hands-on learning means that students’ input is taken into account. Learners can understand one another while experimenting with various learning approaches, making learning a pleasurable experience. This has the potential to make learning more individualized and accessible.
A teacher’s role shifts from that of an instructor to that of a guide. They can assist when needed and are adaptable. Instead of teacher-led classes, students can use tools to discover answers to real-world problems, simulate scenarios, and create a prototype. They can become adept in future employment capacities by using video production, animation, and presentation software. As a result, the total quality of schooling improves.
- Technological Aids to Improve Teaching Practices
Technology helps teachers be more effective by supplementing their educational abilities and expertise. It can also help with coaching and mentoring, even in low-income communities. For example, a South African pilot study found that teachers who got virtual coaching via tablets may boost student learning just as efficiently as those who got in-person mentorship. The future is bright with more EdTech usage.