Teacher reluctance, funds still present hurdle for emerging tech in classrooms
- Educators’ negative perceptions of the use of social media, virtual reality and machine learning are a disservice to students who need to learn how to properly use these tools in order to be successful in their careers, according to EdSurge.
- It's easy for educators to overlook technology’s positive impact, but it can allow students to expand knowledge, quickly catalog information, and even develop three-dimensional models. And social media can expose students to others across the globe, opening windows into different cultures and allowing for a deeper understanding of the world in which they live.
- Students will need a deep understanding of technology in their future careers, and administrators must lead by example, showing comfort with using technology themselves and making it a priority.
Technology is essential, but administrators must also figure out how to foot the bill. Securing funds to pay for emerging technology and even broadband access can be difficult for rural and poor districts. Yet, there are ways. For example, the Every Student Succeeds Act's Title IV-A block grant makes $1.1 billion available for ed tech training.
Rural districts often rely on smaller tax bases, resulting in lower revenue streams. However, fewer students means a lower cost for technology.
The community is also more involved. Mentorships and volunteer opportunities can allow students to benefit from working directly with technology, providing work experience and hands-on application of skills.
Rural districts often struggle with broadband access. While schools typically have access, some students living in rural areas do not. Meanwhile, 23.5% of children living in rural areas are poor. Cellular towers can help bridge the gap to those students who lack broadband access and cell coverage. Another challenge is that in these rural districts, much of the funds are spent on transportation.
In some cases, lawmakers are stepping in to provide funds for emerging technologies. For example, a state bill under consideration in California would create training models to provide mentorship opportunities and college-level technology courses and degrees during high school. Another bill seeks to create a one-time $200-million competitive grant fund for STEM education programs.