COVID-19 has changed everything, even the things we didn’t expect – I certainly never thought masks would be an essential part of our wardrobe. Education, however, is one of the areas most transformed by the pandemic. The upheaval of traditional school routines has brought education inequality (commonly referred to as the “achievement gap”) to the forefront of our national conversation.
Knowing the playing field wasn’t exactly level before, how will students fare now that in-person instruction is questionable? What about families without access to a computer or Internet service? The pandemic is certainly exacerbating inequality in several ways. Still, there may be a silver lining to it all; it’s rapidly increasing awareness around the issue has made it impossible to ignore. In revealing the weaknesses in our education system, COVID-19 may also provide opportunities and motivation for real change and improvement.
- Our “new normal” is causing families everywhere to entirely reimagine the educational model. Many researchers believe that in the future, schools will operate on a hybrid model that blends in-person and virtual instruction. This way, students can receive all the benefits of being around their peers, and having more distraction-free hands-on instruction when needed.
- Both students and teachers are expanding their use of educational technology. Outside of school, technology is used to maintain students’ progress, strengthen weaker areas in their learning, and even help prevent the dreaded “summer slide.” While computer access was questionable for many families, many organizations have stepped in to resolve that. If your child does not have access to a laptop, please contact your school and request one. Also, Smartphones are often a staple in most homes, even when computers are not. For this reason, organizations must be sure to create mobile-friendly content.
- Supplemental education used to be only for those who could afford it. Now, there is a wide array of enrichment programs, and courses online offered either at low or no charge at all. With these tools, families no longer have to have the disposable income to invest in their kids’ development outside of the classroom.
At LIFT2Enrich, we see firsthand how technology can be an equalizer. We reach students and parents with our online programs, virtual classroom, website, blog, and social media platforms in addition to our in-person events. Our enrichment courses are available to anyone with access to a smartphone or computer (by design, of course.) Part of our mission is to help close the achievement gap and champion educational equality because a child’s learning shouldn’t depend on how much money their family makes.