Moving remote learning from reactive to proactive
Remote learning wasn’t an easy switch for many—here’s how to better-position students and teachers for a successful fall
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a stark digital divide within education, with many schools woefully underprepared for the shift to remote learning. When schools initially closed and transitioned to remote learning plans in the spring, many students lacked access to a device, the internet, or both.
These shortcomings were resolved for some students over the summer, but unfortunately, too many students still remain underserved as the new school year has begun.
With many school districts across the nation finalizing remote, in-person, or hybrid learning plans, technology has now become an essential back-to-school supply. Schools across the country are now having to figure out how to morph from a pandemic-driven reactive approach to a more proactive approach to help students and educators overcome the challenges that still exist in remote learning.
Technology access is mandatory for successful remote learning
With a whopping one-third of U.S. students living in households that lack internet access or a digital device, many school districts are facing an ongoing struggle around access to technology – a problem that will only be exacerbated by fully remote or hybrid learning environments in the new school year.
The adoption of subscription-based device-as-a-service (DaaS) hardware and software bundles coupled with Wi-Fi could be an efficient and rapid alternative to arm students and teachers with the basic technologies and support needed for remote learning. DaaS could enable school districts to outsource the deployment, management, and maintenance of hardware devices quickly and efficiently, and also provide much-needed technology help desk support to both students and teachers.
We can’t let “I couldn’t log on” be the new “My dog ate my homework”
Technology usage rose to unprecedented levels over the past few months. Schools with less resources and slim staffs struggled more with the transition — in some cases they needed to send out thousands of devices to newly remote students or assist with a massive influx of troubleshooting issues, along with juggling an entirely new way of teaching (and learning). Ninety percent of teachers reported spending more time troubleshooting technology problems during remote education sessions than ever before.
Unfortunately, many of the same issues from last semester remain, with technology being a pain point rather than the lynchpin of a positive remote learning experience. However, one factor did play a significant role in reducing negative feelings towards technology: the introduction of remote IT help desk support. These outsourced specialists handled IT support tasks that teachers and educators were not adequately prepared to address and helped lessen some of the technology adoption challenges school faced.
Remote studying moving forward
Working under the assumption that distance learning is here to stay, schools must now move quickly to future-proof their IT operations. If schools intend to follow corporate America into a digitally defined era, they’ll need to redefine digital education and make the IT operational changes needed to ensure technology remains a powerful tool for the future of learning and reducing the digital divide in education for underserved communities.