Because of this widespread issue, there has been a call to return to normal in all aspects of our lives, but especially in the arena of education. This may be premature, as these are some of the benefits of online and distance learning that emerged from the past two years:
1.) There is a burgeoning awareness of the disparity in access to technology (i.e., internet, computers, etc…)
Some school districts were able to provide tablets or laptops to their students for the duration of the school years during the pandemic, while others were forced to share or devise different methods of instruction.
This process has jumpstarted the necessary conversations regarding digital inequity. Digital equity, also called the digital divide, can be defined as the economic, educational, and cultural disparities that emerge due to poor access to current technology. Right now, state education entities are working to identify areas of inequity so they can adequately address them. If you want to know what your state is up to regarding digital equity, check out your state board of education, as well as other agencies that are working diligently to bridge the gap. A June 2020 LEANLAB report found that as many as 20% of students in the Kansas City metropolitan area had no access to technology to complete their school work—that’s one in 5. Very rarely in history have we had such an impactful opportunity to find out exactly what the gaping holes are in our efforts and work to repair them.