Covid-19: the digital divide is real and getting worse
In March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic spread to Europe and the first lockdowns were announced. Schools had to be closed to everyone, which was relatively easy. At the beginning.
The possibility of distance learning was later discussed. Gradually the technology to provide education and in GREECE.
However, not all students were equipped to follow the movement. But neither the schools nor the teachers were ready to support their students.
New research that was released by Microsoft, shows that only 1% of public primary schools were able to provide devices to their students. Devices that could get home, compared to 38% of private elementary schools. Of course, these percentages do not concern Greece.
It was not possible to ignore the need for some students to have devices so that they could be connected remotely to their classrooms:
Microsoft research shows that one million children in the UK do not have adequate access to a device or connectivity in their home. In the most disadvantaged schools, only 2% of teachers believe that their students have adequate access to e-learning.
However, as Microsoft research points out, not all schools are the same, just as students are not the same in the most disadvantaged areas.
It did not take a pandemic to create a digital divide between students with different backgrounds in the UK. According to the latest research from Microsoft, the Covid-19 crisis has widened a gap that has been widening in the field of education for a long time.
The report found, for example, that in the public sector, only one in three teachers has access to one-to-one technologies in the classroom, compared to two in three teachers in the private sector.
Covid-19 highlights the inequalities that divide children. The crisis may have created new inequalities, but there have been several for years. Covid-19 just showed us that immediate action should be taken.
The gap between poorer students and richer peers is growing faster than ever in schools, in part due to the widening digital divide widened by Covid-19. But this in turn enhances unequal life opportunities in the future years of our children.
From the development of independent learning skills to the empowerment of students with special educational needs, digital technologies have proven to enable better learning for students. According to Microsoft research, the majority (60%) of teachers who have access to one-to-one devices believe that their students benefit from learning the skills they will need in a future assignment, compared to 34 % of teachers who do not have access to such devices.
The Internet is here! Digital technologies should be developed in all school curricula in the future. The so-called "hybrid learning" is expected to become the norm. Learning can take place outside the classroom with connected devices, and VR and AR applications.
Even when the Covid-19 crisis subsides, every government will have to work with technology companies to ensure that its digital resources are available to every classroom and that no students are left behind.