A lot of schools have started updating their curriculum to incorporate online discussions and forums. This is to show that they can maximize the technology in learning and adapt to the changing times.
This is well and good. We must all choose schools that are more than ready to teach our kids about how to use their Internet access responsibly and to utilize it for deeper learning. For montessori schools in Singapore like the Global Indian International School (GIIS), they’ve gone above and beyond by creating their own mobile application.
But it is hard not to think about some students who may not have the resources to access unlimited Internet or download cloud storages. In this regard, technologically advanced schools have the responsibility to provide equal quality of learning to these kids, and here are some ways.
Diversify class activities
Class projects and other activities should not just rely on what they can find online, but should also involve practical application as well. Consider GIIS again: it is an international school that uses a holistic learning framework which focuses on teaching students to synthesize all that they have learnt. They are expected to yield their own analysis through hands-on use of the lessons.
As educators, we can do the same thing by pairing students who have unlimited access to the tech with those who may not have the same resources. By doing this, you are giving both students the opportunity to learn from each other and for helping them share resources that they wouldn’t have used before.
Make computers available for use
Most school libraries have computers that students can use during their free time. Make sure that enough time is allotted for students to complete their work and that there are no unnecessary interruptions. Anyway, providing computers without Internet access makes its availability moot.
Teach them how to use the library
Some references they need for their project may be available in the library. For one of your sessions, you can teach the students how to use the school library’s cataloging system and then challenge them to use it for their next paper. In this way, you are also helping them identify other resources that have already been vetted as reliable.
Address the issue to the class
Students who do not have unlimited access to the Internet might feel like an outcast. Help them by discussing the issue in class. Show statistics on why this is a reality that is hard to control by some families. You can address if this is an issue of inequality of distribution of resources and elaborate on why it shouldn’t make them feel like a pariah.
Provide a list of community resources
Finally, you can also compile a list of places where there is free Wi-Fi Internet and computer rentals. The community library may have these already. But make sure to include cafes or food parks where Internet and computers are free to access or can be rented at a cheap price.
Limited access to online resources should not impede a child’s learning. As educators, we need to provide equal opportunity for all our kids, and that includes addressing the issue and helping them get around it.