At its very best, technology can connect people worlds apart, bridge cultures and create a limitless path to knowledge. Digital equity, specifically, characterizes the success of a society where all people can fully pursue the same opportunities.
Nowhere is digital equity more critical than in the education of children. Students in rural America, urban centers, and indigent communities as well as those with learning challenges all deserve quality instruction and equal access to the best learning tools. Online learning has definitively opened up a world of knowledge with multiple course selections for many K-12 students
While the COVID pandemic may have shined a revealing light on the nation’s unpreparedness, we now are emerging into a world with the very best technologies and education. Embracing digital equity and doing the work to achieve it means all children will have the opportunity to engage in high-quality learning.
Digital equity research and news abounds and is providing sage guidance to school administrators, educators, researchers, and communities. Their collective role now and post-pandemic will help guarantee that all students have the same chance of educational success.
The eSchool News offered several actions to achieve digital equity in the classroom in its 2021 article, “8 steps to digital equity after the pandemic.” Superintendents from across the country provided insights on how best to resolve the issue, including access, student and educator training, monitoring, and reporting outcomes.
New research from Michigan Virtual, a member of the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance, emphasizes the need for digital learning initiatives to align with the instructional program. Focus must remain on student, teacher, and school community needs in an environment that joins technology, content, instructional strategies, and learning principles.
The research acknowledges the efforts already underway and encourages further development, saying, “… school leaders continue to push forward to design and implement learning models aimed at providing an equitable education for their students — models that meet the needs of all students. These leaders will continue to rely upon digital resources to evolve their learning models to better serve their students.”
Yes, the pandemic was long and challenging for many, especially educators and students. The very best of technology and education, however, awaits teachers and students as they emerge from the pandemic. Embracing digital equity and doing the work to achieve it means all children will have the opportunity to engage in high-quality learning.