Despite the high percentage of households having access to digital technologies and the internet, being at an all-time high of 90%, are we acknowledging the 10% without? When looking at the figures, it is clear that not every student is able to have access to a computer at home or even in schools, and if the access is there, who is to say there is not better and more advanced digital technology that is used for education elsewhere? So, whilst schools are setting children off to go do homework on their laptops and desktops, it has to be considered that some students may face this as a challenge, and therefore face a major drawback on their education. The question is, however, is it fair for digital technologies to be benefiting the education of wealthier students over the less financially able?
Funding: a key aspect when looking at the impact of digital technologies on education. Not every school is able to have the funding to maintain the latest digital devices and software to use when learning. This creates a challenge for less advantaged schools; whilst schools with high funding and private education are able to afford such supplies, less financially advantaged schools may not be able to compete or potentially afford the same supplies, therefore creating a major drawback in education and a big gap in potential learning between rich and poor within the modern-day digital era. Thus, different funding between wealthier and poorer schools is not giving all students equal opportunities, despite their potentially equal learning abilities.
According to the Evening Standard, “a total of 51 per cent of poorer children in London score top grade GCSEs in English and maths, compared with 70 per cent of their wealthier peers. The “attainment gap” between pupils from different backgrounds is 19 per cent — the lowest in the country.” Not only is there a divide between financially advantaged and disadvantaged schools, the education of students within the same schools are also affected and divided due to their financial stability and therefore access to digital technologies that they may need in order to learn.
Despite emergent digital technologies allowing students to learn in other ways other than the traditional textbook, one of the biggest issues faced by students without access to digital technologies is their inability to complete online homework, Matthew Lynch argues. According to this article, up to 70% of teachers assign homework that requires the use of the internet. With no access, students may fall behind and therefore whilst the impact of digital technologies is beneficial to the education of some students, less advantaged student are impacted in a negative way, creating a big disadvantage to their learning as schools are adamant to use new emergent digital technologies.
Time: another important factor that may be at a loss when looking at the impact of digital technologies on education. Despite this being a minor issue, as everything takes time to learn, we do have to consider the complexity of digital technology, whether it is the use of devices, software or apps, and the amount of time it takes to learn how to use them. Time is limited in the classroom, after all, the school day does end at some point; learning how to use emergent digital technologies introduced to the classroom takes up valuable time from educating. With not everyone having access to such supplies at home, it is essential students learn how to use technologies in the classroom. However, with constant emerging digital technologies in our modern-day world, it may be argued that learning how to use technologies will be just as valuable as learning the traditional topics within your use of the software and devices, therefore, as previously mentioned, this can only be considered as a minor issue.
Reliance: an aspect that comes along with the use of digital technologies for students. Are we becoming so heavily reliant on apps such as Grammarly or Photomath, that we no longer feel the need to learn the correct use of grammar or how to solve maths problems ourselves? With the help of such software and applications, there is almost nothing that our computer or smart device cannot do. This can cause students to become ‘lazy’ and create a set back on education as we are no longer learning the essential skills needed in a traditional classroom, and instead leaning on the help of the computer.
Future of teaching: where do these emerging technologies leave our teachers? When students are becoming more reliant on apps, websites, devices and software that teach and can often teach any online course imaginable, is the future of the traditional teacher questioned? Is it easier to learn outside the classroom, in your own time, from a digital device? The future of digital technologies may overall be argued to make the role of the traditional teacher less important, which is an enormous impact and change on education as a whole. All in all, despite the overall huge positive impact of emergent digital technologies on education, there are also some set backs, especially when considering the population as a whole, and not only those who are able to have access to these technologies.