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Striving for digital equity in education
EdTechNZ strives to see digital equity in education so all learners and educators have better access to digital tools, equipment, skills, and training, leading to better learner outcomes. In our report, Aotearoa EdTech Excellence, released in 2021, we raised two recommendations for government and the wider EdTech community to assist in lessening the digital divide:
- The EdTech sector should play a role in enabling and supporting digital equity.
- Government should fund basic digital equipment and internet access.
With the looming cost of living crisis, there’s concern of this divide widening further and a need for the government to assist in ensuring all learners have equal access to technology to better their education. However, there’s another aspect to the digital divide that may not always be at the forefront of our minds – technology education for parents and caregivers.
It’s been researched that the relationship between home and school is a key factor in improving student outcomes. With increased innovation and uptake in EdTechs since the pandemic, the role and relationship that home plays with a child’s education has never been more important.
During the pandemic parents and caregivers had to quickly educate themselves on new technology to support their children’s learning. When parents and caregivers have limited access or knowledge of new technology their children are using, they can become less engaged in their children’s learning, and unaware of their activities online.
A collaborative approach that encourages parental participation and engagement with schools is necessary to support and develop a student’s learning. With enormous amounts of effort being put into refreshing the digital strategy in education in New Zealand, an awareness of parental education around new and emerging technology is needed in order to ensure a student’s learning can be reinforced at home.
Many of our EdTechs encourage and support parental engagement with their educational resources, but with the rise of new technology, like augmented reality, virtual reality, blockchain, and higher performing devices and apps, it can be daunting for parents who may not consider themselves to be digital natives to keep up with their children. A strategy that strengthens this encouragement and involvement of parents could include school-led activities and take-home resources that educate parents on what new technology and EdTechs students are using.
It is recognised that a high digital literacy is crucial for students to become skilled, competent, and prepared to be a 21st century citizen, but it’s also necessary that we encourage our parents to engage in their own life-long learner journey. We celebrate all the effort that our EdTech community does for building the next generation of learners, as well as our parents and caregivers, to ensure digital equity and education for all.
If you haven’t already, please don’t forget to register for our online Annual Meeting on 26 October.
The EdTechNZ Team