What Impact Does Connection Have in Students’ Access to Inclusive Technology Options
Numerous students were abruptly sent home because of COVID-19. While smartphone ownership and internet connectivity are often assumed to be mainstream in America, there are significant variations in accessibility to these resources.
This problem was brought to the forefront when schools moved to virtual classrooms in a short space of time, leaving some students scurrying to get the technological devices they required to finish the course.
The digital gap has existed for some time, but the worldwide pandemic has brought it to light. According to studies, 15-16 million pupils did not have sufficient internet connection to engage in online learning in 2020.
Issues That Came to Light During the Outburst of Coronavirus
Many students have trouble getting dependable internet connections, but those who live in precarious living arrangements have the most difficulty. Furthermore, roughly half of individuals who reside on-campus experience internet connection problems. In cases like this, mobile hotspots given by the institution are incredibly beneficial to students in fixing connectivity concerns.
Students have only a few alternatives for internet access while they are not at residence, but even still, they may not be of much help. Some pupils go to considerable lengths to get a reliable Wi-Fi connection, whereas others just do not choose to move elsewhere and must make due if their connectivity is interrupted.
Moreover, rural areas have more substantial connection issues, according to the information from the Federal Communications Commission and Broadband Now. Canutillo ISD, a rural county outside El Paso, Texas, has 70% of children without internet access at home.
How is Connectivity Critical for Educational Technology?
The Coronavirus outbreak has emerged to address one inequity: internet access. The effectiveness of strategies has relied heavily on internet access during remote learning. Students are at a severe disadvantage if they cannot attend their classes, lecturers, or homework over the internet.
According to recent research, the number of Americans without internet connection could be nearer to 42 million than the FCC anticipated in 2020. In any event, the figures reveal that dependable internet connectivity remains a concern, one that has posed several hurdles to online learning.
Educators should bear the connectivity problem in mind when planning a course and providing information because high-speed Internet connection might not be available in the places where students reside. Some students will have to drive to adjacent cities or sit areas with open-access Wi-Fi connectivity to attend virtual classes or view hours of educational content.
The Road Ahead
More assistance for a dependable internet connection is needed. Institutions must allocate resources to purchase mobile hotspots for individual students’ usage and create safe locations on campuses where students may get online whenever they need to.
In addition, the number of access points at public places and student housing and the use of directional antennas to improve signal strength must be increased.
Lastly, subsidies for expanding or improving at-home internet connectivity for students who require it should be included in financial assistance packages to make education facilities more accessible.
Also Read: How Higher Education Is Impacted by COVID-19