Mind the (Opportunity) Gap: Learning About Modern Tech

The world today is inundated with a deluge of modern technology. The world of education, as a microcosm of the system as a whole, is no different. You can’t read a blog, or a trade magazine, or a newspaper, or go to a conference without risking being washed away by words like augmented reality, 3D printing, drones, artificial intelligence, robotics, coding, programming, and ‘smart’ devices.

The craziest part is that in our classrooms these high-level options are available as a field to study and explore to almost all levels of learners, or at least they should be. Instead, what we see in too many cases is that these courses are reserved for students who excel and don’t need remediation. Students who struggle are often not exposed, widening the opportunity gap. We need to lower the threshold of entry into programs that learn about these advances to prepare ALL of our students for their future. High performing students, students with transportation, and students with money shouldn’t be the only ones who are able to enter this exciting world.

How can you help? Here are a few ideas!

  • Offer intro to modern tech/CS courses to lower performers, remove some of the prerequisite barriers
  • Replace remedial classes that don’t work with engaging, modern offerings that create a desire to attend school
  • Offer before/after school clubs/activity groups WITH transportation
  • Find meaningful ways to integrate into the core curriculum and then provide deep support for the teachers
  • Celebrate pockets of greatness where it is already happening in your school or community
  • Bring it to the masses through summer programs and/or nights/weekends out in the community instead of being tied to the school building

If you’ve got any other great ideas, tag me @dkonopelko on Twitter!