Updated: Dec 6, 2020
As time passes, technology also advances. Nowadays, we rely on technology every day, for simple tasks such as communicating, or more complex tasks such as developing self-driven cars. Whatever it is, technology has proved to be a powerful tool in our century.
After COVID-19 hit 2020, we relied on technology more than ever, especially in the field of education. Following social distancing, schools have turned to online platforms to conduct classes and continue education for kids and teens. While most schools have organized and efficient systems to encounter virtual learning, it is also crucial to consider the schools that do not. With no available resources and equipment, it is almost impossible to provide education to kids in schools that lack basic necessities like computers or ipads. Ultimately, the kids and teenagers who attend these inadequate schools will be the ones at a learning disadvantage.
Before diving into the relationship with technology and learning, we should first understand the background of these poorer schools. Why do these schools need more funding? What caused them to be this way? Most public school funding is collected through property taxes, meaning that districts with more wealthy people tend to earn more funding. On the other hand, districts with lower-income residents will pay less to fund schools and education. One study has shown that while Utah spends around 6500 dollars on a student, places like New York spend about 20,000 dollars. In general, living in New York is way more expensive, and New York is also more developed than rural Utah. The drastic change between the two already displays the relationship between education funding. We can also infer that students in New York have a more competitive learning environment as well as more opportunities in the city-like setting.
Furthermore, surveys have shown that over 80% of teachers believe that technology plays a significant role in learning. Many teachers state that technology boosts participation, engagement, and even literacy. Subsequently, the schools that have poor access to technology will be losing opportunities and limiting student potential. The director of the national literacy Trust, Jonathan Douglas, says that “Technology is ever-present in children and young people’s daily lives – and it’s here to stay. Teachers believe that technology has the potential to transform pupils’ literacy and learning, yet limited access to hardware, software, WiFi, and training presents significant challenges to teachers seeking to use technology in the most effective way for their pupils.” With more than 11 million students who do not have access to online learning, learning at home has become a huge obstacle.
Nevertheless, there are ways in which schools and organizations have tried to ensure that students are learning without struggles at home. Many schools have provided students with school laptops or Chromebooks, and companies such as Comcast offered lower-income families with free WiFi. At the very least, many organizations are donating and making sure that poorer schools have the resources they need. Douglas says, “to effectively harness the potential of technology to support every child’s learning, greater investment in resources, training, and research is needed, as well as support from policymakers, technology companies, academics, and fellow education professionals. We must do everything we can to unlock the literacy skills that children and young people need to thrive at school, at work, and in life.”
Truong, Debbie. “As Classes Move Online, What Happens To Students Without Internet Or Computers?” NPR.Org, NPR, 18 Mar. 2020, www.npr.org/local/305/2020/03/18/817691597/as-classes-move-online-what-happens-to-students-without-internet-or-computers. Accessed 21 Sept. 2020.
Watson, Krista. “Why Schools in Rich Areas Get More Funding Than Poor Areas.” Global Citizen, Global Citizen, 3 Aug. 2016, www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/cost-of-education-in-us/. Accessed 21 Sept. 2020.
Pisanu, Angela. “Lack of Technology in the Classroom Hinders Literacy and Work-Readiness.” Education Business, Education Business, 25 Apr. 2019, educationbusinessuk.net/news/25042019/lack-technology-classroom-hinders-literacy-and-work-readiness. Accessed 21 Sept. 2020.