The education sector has evolved to a great deal and things that were unimagined are now a reality.
For such a drastic transformation, the role of EdTech and its well-planned utilization is to be credited. Technology disruption is the biggest reason of change in our society today and it is this that led to a huge difference in the thought process. It is changing us, our lives and our world as a whole.
The younger generation have a totally different outlook from what it used to be five years from now. The young generation are multi-taskers and are hungry to explore new technologies with which they can easily complete more tasks in less time and with less energy. Now moving on to the integration of technology in education, well it was important to revive the instructional approach that lacked essential aspects and to allow both the teacher and students a new way to reach previously unreachable learning outcomes.
Mushrooming of edtech start-ups is something which one has seen for quite some time now. Their solutions and products have also increased the access to education in remote areas. But sadly the highest privileges of edtech are only harnessed by high-income groups. Not all communities have been exposed to the benefits of expanding networks and devices thereby creating a digital divide in the society.
So now the question that arises out of such fact is ‘Are the EdTech Start-ups doing enough for overlooked communities?
There are some edtech start-ups which operate on a freemium model too but even then they are not designed with specific needs of the low-income or keeping in mind under-connected kids. Almost all the paid products are designed from the profit ventures point of view. Hence, it is a dire need for the edtech start-ups to actually focus on their business model and designing more products and solutions for the low-income communities.
EdTech start-ups must now start considering ways through which they can build accessibility, affordability and pain points of products which caters to the need of those in the bottom of the pyramid. Although there is a sector of education start-up which has already started focusing on bridging the resource gap by developing high-quality education resources and tools that students can access for free. Names of some of these non-profit that are uniquely positioned to reach underserved communities are CommonLit, Literacy Lab, Hack Club and many others. These companies are working relentless to close the education gap that persists in the US.
Literacy Lab is working towards enhancement of early education of the low-income communities. The organization is aiming to fix any inequalities that arises due to a disproportion of low and high-quality preschool programs. Availing high-quality schooling programs is not at the reach of most low-income community children and this later holds them back and feeling demoralized. But when children are exposed to high quality contents right from the elementary level the gap becomes inexistent if not fully but to a large extent from the society.
To conclude, the idea is in order to access quality education socio-economic barriers should not be the reason to hold one’s talent from blooming. There is a likelihood to witness a growth of social enterprises in the near future with various government sponsored projects initiations. Besides this, we also need enthusiastic entrepreneurs to start thinking of building educational technology that must bridge any gap of digital divide. To do this we do not just need EdTech start-ups for profit but one that are socially minded entrepreneurs as well.
What is your take on it, please let us know and if you have any suggestions regarding bridging digital divide in the society.