As advanced as we may be, equal education opportunities is something we as a global entity still haven’t achieved. It is true that every government in the world has invested in education to some extent. However, there are road blocks that prevent education from being within the reach of all. The good news is that developments in digital learning are helping make equal education opportunities a reality to some extent.
Before these developments in digital learning came about, education was not an equal opportunity game at all. Traditionally, education was the purview of the elite. Only the rich and privileged had access, and at an earlier point in time, the right, to education. While government policies are now making it accessible to all, economics still plays a part in the ability to get that education.
Certain countries have made primary education free, but the quality of education might not be up to the mark. Even if it is, secondary and higher education might cost more than the economically backward classes can afford. As the competition in the professional world increases, professional courses become extremely expensive. Since real estate is at a premium, educational institutes are limited by space. A lack of teaching staff means that either teachers deal with more students than they can cope with or the number of students enrolling is limited. Developments in online learning may help solve this problem.
Money is not the only issue making education a distant dream for some. Class and gender divides are still present in communities. Girls are either not educated at all or are allowed only primary education in some societies. The reason for gender inequality in education is two-fold. Firstly, if a girl is to be married off, then the perception is that she does not need to be educated. Why spend money on expensive education for her? Secondly, the lack of basic amenities makes it difficult for girls to spend the day in school. There is also the element of gender segregation where parents don’t feel comfortable with sending their daughters to a school where boys and girls intermingle.
Early marriages also hold back young girls from education since they’re too busy taking care of their children or families to have time for studies. This is an issue that young men don’t have to face. This is where developments in digital learning might be able to help. Class may be a determining factor in societies where a societal class system prevails. The dominant class would not allow those they consider lesser than them to be educated in the same classroom or even the same school as them.
Another issue that has nothing to do with gender, class, or finances is the fact that certain students have special requirements. Students with learning or physical disabilities might find themselves unable to cope with the way traditional education works. Even without any disabilities, some students might not find it easy to keep up with the rest of the class without extra help. The good news is that as the levels of education increase, some of the more regressive ideas are losing ground. However, the practical issues still stand. These are being alleviated to a great extent by the developments in digital education.
How Does Digital Education Help In Solving the Equal Education Issues?
Digital education or digital learning is a method of teaching where the mode of instruction is not limited to the printed textbook. As the name suggests, digital media and online classes are supplemented with traditional teaching methods. Instead of just reading a book, interactive digital media is used to explain and engage students. Developments in digital learning technology mean that some of the classes may be held online as well. There are several advantages this mode of blended learning offers, both to teachers, students, as well as school management. But how do developments in digital learning help solving the equal education issue? Here are some of the ways in which it does it.
Digital Learning Can Be Cheaper Than Traditional Learning
While the infrastructure requirements might be costlier than conventional teaching requirements, digital learning can prove to be cheaper in the long run. Firstly, developments in blended learning have made it unnecessary for all classes to be held in the conventional school classroom. Certain lessons can be taught through virtual online classrooms, leaving the students free to go over the lesson without supervision. This frees up valuable real estate for the school.
Secondly, since most of the learning is being conducted by students on their digital devices, teachers are free to work on students who may need extra help. Even with an evenly paced class in terms of learning, the teacher is now equipped to deal with more students. These developments in interactive learning technologies means the institution can keep the quality of education up to standard without having to increase manpower.
Thirdly, with developments in blended learning making strides, online education is becoming a reality. Online learning is conducted completely on an online platform. Classes and lectures are held online and course material is uploaded on to the institute’s server. This way, there is absolutely no need for a school or college campus.
All these savings can be transferred on to the students, making education within the reach of everyone. Online education especially would mean doing away with the cost of the premises, and one teacher teaching a huge online class. This would make the cost of education nominal and affordable for everyone.
Developments in Digital Learning Mean Knowledge Is Accessible Everywhere
As we see developments in digital learning, we notice a rise in the quality of digital content available. This content is becoming more interactive, intuitive, and engaging. At this point, all we need is an AI teacher and the digital classrooms would no longer need a human to teach! While that is not the case yet, it does mean that with digital technology, all you need is a compatible device, power, and an internet connection. As long as you have these, a student can ‘attend’ classes from anywhere. A teacher could hold a virtual class and simultaneously teach hundreds of children in different locations.
This mode of education has been used by universities to offer courses to students flung all over the globe. The University of Arizona, for example, offers online courses that students in the Middle East can enrol for without having to leave their country. With a dearth of colleges and universities in the region in the past, this has become a very popular choice for young people looking for higher education.
Special Needs Are Being Taken Care Of By Developments in Digital Learning
Students with special needs might find it difficult to find schools with the requisite infrastructure designed to deal with their needs. Digital learning solutions on the other hand come equipped with all kinds of special education technologies. Young Digital Planet, for example, offers a module especially for children with special needs. Digital Enhancer 4 Special Educational Needs is a module based on the Tomatis Method of instruction. It is designed for students with hearing and speech disabilities. In addition to this, there are developments in digital learning technologies that are specifically designed for learning disabilities and special needs. Even for students without any special needs, the sheer variety of methods in which a lesson is explained means that students who might have needed extra attention can now understand and learn at their own pace.
Education Quality Can Be Made Standardise
In most cases, even if the syllabus has been prescribed, the quality of education can only be as good as the teacher. This may be alleviated to a certain extent with the resources the school can provide, but how a teacher teaches still remains all-important. With developments in digital learning making it possible for educators to create their own content, it will soon be possible to have standardized lessons across the board. The lessons would be taught using these digital lessons. This would mean that while a good teacher would still give better results, students will not have to suffer with poorly understood lessons with a bad one.
Lessons Can Be Taken As and When Students Want
While students may still need to attend school and classes, the digital lessons can be accessed at any time. Since all the media and explanations come packed in a module, the student can go through them whenever and wherever. This gives the student an immense amount of flexibility both in studying time as well as studying methodology. It, further, gives students the freedom to go through lessons at their own pace and at their own time. These are the developments in digital learning that make it easier for teenage mothers, child brides, students with learning disabilities, and slow learners to keep up with their studies.
Education is the only way of development for any society. Equal education opportunities are the right of every person. These developments in digital learning seem to be a step in the right direction in safeguarding this right.