As an academic leader, you’ve faced it: inequitable internet access and unreliable devices have brought to light just how difficult it can be to reach your students in an online environment. Simply put, technology struggles make it challenging for students to learn.
According to Education Week, roughly 20 percent of students, staff members, and families faced problems with technology in 2020. These problems ranged from issues with internet access to unequal devices and device malfunctions.
This confirms it. Equitable technology is a necessity—not a luxury. Remote and hybrid learning under COVID-19 has revealed severe educational equity problems. So how do we best prepare students and staff moving forward?
Phase 1: Ensuring You Have a Device for Every Student and Staff Member
When the pandemic hit, you scrambled to figure out the next step for your students and fast. For students that didn’t already have a device, your priority was to provide them with one. At this point, you now have a device for every student to ensure they can learn in a remote environment.
However, as remote learning has progressed, you’ve likely started to notice the limitations of older devices that were already in your fleet. Prior to the pandemic, in-person classroom environments had their fair share of technical issues. Now, remote learning proves to be even more vulnerable. From spotty network connections to software glitches and compatibility issues, the list of mishaps only magnifies.
Minimizing the likelihood of technology issues takes additional preparation. Now’s the opportunity to take preventative measures and ensure that all students have equal, functioning devices that fulfill the requirements for a successful learning experience. As you know, it isn’t enough to provide similar technology across the board. You also need current, up-to-date devices that fit the functionality and collective needs of today’s evolving world.
Phase 2: Make Sure All Devices Are Current and Equitable
As you know, technology continues to change and improve. Learning as we know it continues to change as well. It’s not enough to provide one device for several years, expecting the student learning experience to remain the same. Whether it’s every 2 or 4 years, updating your devices should be a continual practice that ensures the technology you are providing aligns with the learning experience you are trying to provide. In order to make this happen, it’s pertinent to create a sustainable plan that accounts for the buyback of your older devices so you can continue to exchange for newer ones for years to come.
Establishing a long-term buyback plan to foster educational continuity for your students and staff is a critical part of any organization’s technology implementation. A sustainable plan ensures that you don’t have to worry about inequitable learning—ever again.