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Technology has significantly improved access to education for students around the world. Still, the process of adopting various technological tools to enhance the process of learning comes with plenty of challenges.
In particular, the digital divide refers to the numerous inequalities experienced in the efforts made towards integrating these new ways of teaching, training, and disseminating knowledge. This article looks into the imbalances present in how both students and instructors access the resources and skills needed to apply technology in education aptly. Plus, it will cover 3 ways that can address the technological divide in the sector.
Ensuring Equality in Information Technology Infrastructure
Developed countries can claim that most, if not all, of their learning institutions, are on an equal footing in terms of the educational infrastructure. This equality shows in the distribution of books and other learning materials, science laboratories, and libraries.
However, as we continue to rely on technology in the classroom setting, computers and other smart devices are essential tools that every student requires. It is impractical to stock a school with laptops for each and every learner. So, the onus rests on the parents to ensure their kids have access to a working computer for their assignments and studying.
Consequently, well-off households have the financial muscle to equip their children with the right devices for their schooling. On the other hand, students hailing from families in the low-income bracket may not have the recommended tools for doing their homework or research. Such learners may have to contend with less capable devices that frustrate their efforts in handling their schoolwork. As such, it makes sense to create an education curriculum that allows for the use of technology that is affordable for all.
Bringing Teachers Up-To Speed with the Current Technologies
Enhancing education entails ensuring that both teachers and their students are on par when it comes to communicating concepts. In the context of the technological divide, there is a need to make sure that we train instructors in the current trends in using new-age tools in fulfilling their duties.
The current inequalities experienced in the education industry show that students tend to be more tech-savvy than their teachers. An instructor may find it challenging to help a student to become a competent essay writer if they are not fully conversant with the tools used in creating, receiving, and grading assignments.
Moreover, some students may use this imbalance to commit academic fraud if their teacher has no way of finding out. So, to ensure that technology is applied equally across the board, governments and learning institutions must introduce training programs for their staff. Such initiatives serve to close this gap and ensure that instructors have the qualifications necessary to meet their responsibilities at this age.
Introducing Cost-Effective Measures in Accessing Education
As mentioned above, industrialized countries have been largely successful in implementing technology in their school much more than their less-developed counterparts. Still, there are inequalities experienced within such states in terms of ensuring all the learning centers within its borders are on the same level of incorporating new ways of educating their young population.
The imbalances are evident from the lack of technological infrastructure between urban and rural areas. For instance, internet access remains an issue that schools outside large cities contend with due to the following reasons.
- In these areas, broadband service providers do not have the incentive necessary to motivate them towards enhancing connectivity
- The population in those locations, along with their income level, make the investment unreasonable when they take the returns into account
- Implementing affordable internet connectivity in such areas is difficult since resources like the fiber optic cable are expensive to lay down.
In these cases, governments should focus their efforts on equating the internet infrastructure to public roads—ensuring access is free for everyone. Such steps involve introducing incentives to Internet Service Providers for their distribution.
On the other hand, national and local administrations can enact programs that aim to equip each student with a laptop that can allow them to work on their assignments stress-free. Admittedly, the gap between low- and high-income households will still remain a thorn on the side of educational resources.
However, making strides to ensure that all students are on the same level — at least in terms of engaging with school content — serves to close the digital divide. Implementing the strategies above can help us ensure that the next generation of industry professionals has an equal opportunity to fit into the occupations of the future.