Today’s education does not need to be confined to the walls of the classroom. It should not rely on home internet access, a community hotspot or a trip to the library. It should not be exclusive to school going kids stocked with new textbooks and state-of-the-art laboratories.
Rather, U.S. students are entering a time where educational equality is likely to be closer than ever. Technology offers students the opportunity to access similar information, regardless of location or status.
The COVID-19 epidemic has accelerated a trend towards one-to-one devices for students across the country. In districts where devices have not yet been allocated to each student, they rushed to make it happen when distance learning began. Emergency funds have helped fill the gaps in districts that need a jump-start to big technology purchases.
Now that most students have access to devices and the Internet, we have the opportunity to determine if we can make it a truly transformative moment in education. If we are to take advantage of these changes, we must continue to push for true educational fairness. In some districts, this may mean creating Internet service agreements on each device. In others, it may call for a policy change that allows students to bring those devices home with them.
Some other strategies that districts should consider to improve technical equivalence in education are:
Embrace students as learning partners. For all districts, it is important that students are accepted as learning partners. This means they should be trusted with devices even outside the classroom. Finally, students who bring their devices home with them can extend their learning day after the final hour.