Today’s education doesn’t need to be limited to the walls of a classroom. It shouldn’t rely on home internet access, a community hotspot or a ride to the library. It shouldn’t be exclusive to kids who attend schools stocked with new textbooks and state-of-the-art laboratories.
Rather, U.S. students are entering a time where equity in education has the potential to be closer than ever before. Technology brings the opportunity for students to access the same plethora of information, regardless of location or status.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a trend toward one-to-one devices for students nationwide. Districts that had yet to assign devices to each student rushed to make that happen when remote learning began. Emergency funding helped fill in the gaps for districts that needed a jump-start to make big technology purchases.
Now that most students have access to devices and the internet, however, we have the opportunity to determine whether we will truly make this a transformational moment in education. If we are to take advantage of these changes, we need to continue to press for true educational equity. In some districts, that might mean building internet service contracts into every device. In others, it might call for a policy change that allows students to bring those devices home with them.
A few other strategies that districts should consider to continue improving technology equity in education:
Embrace Students as Learning Partners. For all districts, it’s critical that students are embraced as partners in learning. That means they must be trusted with devices even outside of the classroom. Ultimately, students who bring devices home with them may extend their learning day long after the final bell.