There’s been a lot of hype recently surrounding MOOCs, flipped classrooms, and general use of technology in the classroom. Unquestionably, technology has the power to transform classroom learning—more and more companies are developing websites, apps, and software to help teachers deliver content and manage classrooms. However, it’s important to note that many of the strides we make in this area are operating under a naïve assumption: that everybody has access to this same technology at home.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as a Pew Research study on Internet adoption, 77% of American households have a computer, and 71% of households have access to the Internet. That means there is a significant number of students whose only exposure to computers and the Internet is at school. And we’ve definitely come a long way in terms of getting schools up to speed (no pun intended) with Internet access and quality device—we now see teachers using iPads in their classrooms, kids working in computer labs, and school administrators adopting online LMS platforms—but there seems to be an expectation that students will all be able to complete online homework assignments, watch videos on the Internet that their teacher posted to e-Chalk, and Google information that they need to complete their homework.
Technology is a game-changer in the classroom. It opens doors for students and teachers to interact, learn, and develop in ways that were previously not possible. We just need to remember as we continue to try and grow the edtech world that there are still plenty of students, both in the U.S. and abroad, who we might be leaving out along the way.