With the Covid-19 Pandemic still ravaging the world, it isn’t just the elderly and vulnerable who are struggling. Children living in underserved communities are struggling to keep up with their education. As in-person classroom experiences get swapped for unfamiliar virtual education, no group is more disadvantaged than underprivileged children.
Underserved children getting subpar education is nothing new in the United States. But, with the rise of the pandemic, this disparity is growing even higher.
Read on to discover the online education methods educators are using to level the playing field for poorer communities.
In the wake of the pandemic, many public school systems have been forced by local ordinances to switch to online learning. This creates a problem: What do children without internet access or home computers do? This is where learning pods come in.
Charities have funded learning pods in underserved neighborhoods across the US. The pods are small, socially-distanced groups who gain access to the laptops and WiFi they need. Often in unused office spaces or church basements, learning pods are a community effort.
The benefits of the pods include giving working parents the ability to stay at work.
Young children, especially those who cannot read, are not able to educate themselves through online platforms the way an older child can. They need supervision to learn. If a parent has to miss work to aid their child, they lose out on income they may desperately need.
Another benefit of the pods is social interaction. The social isolation of the pandemic can harm their development. With the pods, children get to spend a few hours a day with their peers.
In school districts with many underprivileged students, virtual education is hindered by a lack of home WiFi access. To combat this, many districts have opted for WiFi buses during the pandemic.
A solution like ConnectEd Bus provides WiFi-enabled buses for students who do not have access to at-home wireless internet. Whether it is on the ride to or from school, to football games, or on field trips, students have the ability to complete their homework.
One of the biggest benefits of WiFi buses is that schools can park their buses in underserved neighborhoods on weekends and in the after-school hours. Access to WiFi for students who would not normally have it helps bridge the digital divide between students during Covid-19.
Laptop Loan Programs
In many cities across the US, public school districts are adopting a laptop lending program. Remote learning students without personal computers are able to receive school-funded laptops.
The biggest issue with this is that, without WiFi, the laptop-loans aren’t useful. Students need laptops and internet access to receive educational equity.
Creating Equity in Virtual Education
By implementing the methods laid out in this article, communities strive for more equality in virtual education. When children have computer access, they also have access to their virtual classrooms.
No child should be left behind. And with these strategies, they are given the opportunity to succeed.
To read more about educational inequity, check out our “Education and Career” blogs.