Society

“Technology Inequality”

Introduction

As the COVID-19 pandemic renders in person school impossible, schools have turned to virtual options with remote learning. However, America has the huge problem of class distinction through technology, with not all students receiving the same opportunities due to how fast or powerful their laptop is. Zoom meetings are the new normal, and as such, the requirement to live and function as a member of society today is to own a laptop and have a good connection, and have a suitable environment with little to none distractions. As one can imagine, many don’t have access to these requirements, which calls entrepreneurs to action and think of a solution.

Accessibility

With these technology accessibility issues, there are certain groups, or “classes”. Firstly, there are those with the resources and more. They comfortably have stable, fast, wifi, a working room/environment, a good computer, good webcam, speakers, and microphone. Then, there are those that simply match the requirements. They have stable wifi, a working space, a nice computer, with a working webcam, speakers, and microphone. Next, are those who barely “fulfill” the requirement. They have semi-stable wifi, a working space(most likely shared), usually a school-provided computer, which fulfills the requirements. Finally, there are those who struggle to fulfill or cannot fulfill the technology requirements. Many individuals with low socioeconomic status have been known to use public WiFi, which comes with the cost of sharing a workspace. However, the COVID-19 pandemic renders this option impossible. This last class is simply unacceptable, as many good, exemplary students and workers cannot participate.

Pre-pandemic internet/technology disparity was simply a preference problem. Now, it has become an accessibility disaster. 

Solutions

Many school districts distribute laptops to their students. These usually place the students into the 3rd class, with chromebooks. Other districts have opened digital learning centers. HISD, the Houston Independent School District, is opening 36 centers for students without access to technology. 

Sources

https://www.wral.com/coronavirus/about-75-of-requested-laptops-issued-to-students-in-wake-county/19275234/

https://www.13newsnow.com/article/news/local/outreach/back-to-school/chesapeake-public-school-parents-ready-students-for-first-virtual-day-without-laptops/291-80be4dbf-cb7d-4283-a497-ed98220c71e5

https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2020/09/06/hisd-launches-36-digital-learning-centers-for-elementary-middle-school-students-that-do-not-have-access-of-technology/

https://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/story/news/local/2020/09/08/mullis-america-has-adopted-tech-but-not-all-have-internet-access/5744091002/

Categories: Society