Here are a few suggestions for politicians and educators looking to future-proof the educational system and close a gap that unfairly disadvantaged millions of students throughout the world.
The following are some of the report's key findings:
- Poor digital access (i.e. physical access to the internet or a device) was the most significant obstacle to digital learning, reported by 68 percent of instructors as a concern. A lack of digital competency came in second, with 56% of respondents saying that both instructors and students lacked the necessary abilities to make digital learning successful.
- Instructors said that engaging pupils in online classes was a greater issue than prices, education financing, or digital infrastructure during the epidemic. Six out of ten teachers said this was their largest obstacle during the pandemic (61 per cent).
- The change to digital learning has had a substantial impact on disadvantaged pupils: 70% of instructors indicated the most disadvantaged children missed learning owing to restricted or no access to digital devices. According to 44% of respondents, the pandemic had a particularly detrimental impact on the well-being of poor kids.
- Teachers want parents to be more involved in their children's digital learning: half of the teachers polled (50%) believe that a lack of parental understanding of digital tools/platforms limits the effectiveness of support available to their children; and 58 percent believe that disadvantaged students receive less educational support from their parents and families.
To combat the widening digital gap, here are a few recommendations:
- A higher emphasis on autonomous learning: students who take an active role in their education are more involved in their studies, which leads to better results. Independent study provides students with critical screen-free time and alleviates some of the constraints that disadvantaged students have whether they have a bad internet connection, restricted access to a device, or expensive data prices to be online for the whole day.
- Develop digital competence abilities in educators, students, and parents: According to latest research, a lack of digital competency among instructors, students, and their parents is holding back digital learning to an alarming extent. Moving from irregular 'upskilling' to 'always-skilling,' in which instructors get regular training touchpoints, would guarantee that teachers' digital expertise remains current.
- The research recommends governments throughout the globe to prioritise investments that promote affordable access to dependable internet connections and devices to address both sides of the digital divide. Governments should actively cooperate with teachers and students, and utilise their current experiences to shape future policy and curriculum development, focusing on free resources to close the skills gap, as well as wellness and mental health.
Despite the fact that the world of education is undergoing substantial digital revolution, many students are being left behind due to the digital gap. And, as our study demonstrates, it's not just about making sure people have access to the right devices or boosting connection; until we bridge skills gaps and ensure that teachers, students, and parents understand how to properly utilise digital tools, the digital divide will simply widen.