As you might be aware of, there is a persistent disparity in educational performance among subgroups of U.S. students. This achievement gap is positively correlated with socioeconomic class, with wider gaps seen between low and high income families. According to a 2018 report by the National Center for Education Statistics, kids from low-income families participate in fewer educationally enriching activities over the summer compared to kids from middle-to-high class families. This partly exmplefies the impact of insufficinet funds on a student's academic journey. So what is being done to level the playing field?
Narrowing the Achievement Gap Through EdTech
There have been many ongoing attempts to minimize this achievemnt gap, such as the No Child Left Behind Act (2002) which focused on standards, aligned tests, and school accountability; as well as the Race to the Top (RTTT) program, instituted by the Obama Administration to provide financial incentives to states in order to produce measurable gains. However, the reduction of the gap has stalled in recent years and progress remains stagnant. Despite the seemingly discouraging situation we are in, closing the achievement gap consistently remains a focal point of politically prominent education reform issues.
Over the last couple of years, school districts around the nation have been investing in education technology in an effort to improve student outcomes. According to a meta-analysis study conducted by James Kulik in 1999, on average, students who used tech-based instruction scored at the 64th percentile on tests of achievement compared to students in the control conditions without technology who scored at the 50th percentile. The problem, however, is that most schools can't afford to upgrade to the latest in edtech due to low funds. Unfortunately, this places access barriers for students who would benefit the most from digital equity and hardware.
Making EdTech Accessible
Here at BoardShare, we believe that quality education should be a basic right, not a privilige, which is why we decided to develop our cost-effective interactive whiteboard device back in 2013. Our BoardShare unit was designed to maximize accessibility by reducing the system requirements, making a PC & projector the only things you need to get started. Over the years, we've been able to help numerous school districts upgrade to the latest in edtech. For example, last year we were able to help the Nashua school district, who faced two major challenges: cost and training.
Thanks to BoardShare's mobility, educators at the Nashua district were able to satisfy the needs of twice the amount of classrooms by moving their BoardShare units from class to class between periods. Moreover, the leftover money in their budget was used to buy additional techonology purchases that they needed.
The Achievement Gap: Moving Forward
Closing the achievement gap is more of a journey than it is a marathon. Little by little, we can fight inequality in unison and provide others with the resources they need in order to succeed in contemporary society. It is especially important for educators and value-driven companies to collaborate in order to achieve this common goal. A product, or service is rarely going to improve without constant feedback and updates. Teachers and school directors should express their concerns when they think that something could be improved, and companies should listen and take action accordingly.
What about you? Does your school use any type of edtech? Are you satisfied with your current technology, or do you think that there are ways that it could be improved? Let us know in the comments below!
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