Remote and hybrid learning environments have brought on a lot of challenges for many educators, schools, and districts. With safety measures being taken around the country to ensure that students and teachers are out of harm’s way during this pandemic, many schools are continuing to function in remote and hybrid learning environments this semester. Because of this, K-12 schools continue to face the struggles of finding equal access to technology, tools, and the internet as well as continuing to provide and receive quality education under unusual circumstances. Teachers around the world worry about the increasing digital divide and are rapidly working to come up with ways to close the equity gap. We recently sat down with Principal Evan Robb to talk about the challenges he’s faced and what he’s done to overcome them.
What is the Equity Gap?
The Balance states, “Equity in education says that society should provide everyone the basic work skills of reading, writing, and simple arithmetic. It should prohibit discrimination based on gender, ethnic origin, or socioeconomic status.” In other words, equity is based upon the idea that being fair is most important and that everyone deserves to have a basic knowledge of education.
In terms of an equity gap, the gap falls in between the need for education and the challenges students, teachers, and families face socioeconomically. Right now in the days of remote and hybrid learning, a lot of teachers and students don’t have access to the tools they need to get a basic education.
Educators never fully know what is going on in a student’s home or their financial situation. The concern for educators is that some students will not be receiving the same quality level of education as others in the same class because of their inability to gain access to necessary tools. Evan Robb did not want to see a single one of his students falling behind so he asked himself, “What can I do to help aid in the closing of the equity gap?”
Closing the Equity Gap
Evan did everything in his power to make sure that each student was taken care of and had access to everything they needed to be successful during remote learning. Since his school decided to stay fully virtual it was Evan’s responsibility to make sure that each student had the correct resources and close the equity gap as much as possible.
Evan did a few things that really impacted this experience for his students, teachers, and parents. First, his school purchased numerous hotspots around the community to make sure that everyone was able to access the internet for free. Next, they created a system where every Friday teachers created a zip drive of the learning activities for that coming week. They set up Internet cafes around the community and in some of the schools so that students or parents could go to the hotspot and access, print, or read any information they would need to be successful doing their work from home.
Evan explained how some of these challenges that remote and hybrid learning present are a bit counterintuitive to what their school would be doing if they were working like normal. It can be challenging to provide differentiation that is needed, especially if you have to plan your lessons a week in advance.
Good teaching is all about knowing where your kids are in their learning, knowing what they’re learning, and then making adjustments so that they can become successful. It is very challenging to predict what everyone is going to know a week ahead because everyone learns at a different pace, so they are working collaboratively on ways to make this better and improve. The equity gap is an ongoing issue and remote learning is a huge factor in the increase of the equity gap. Educators have to make sacrifices and go to lengths to make sure that each and every one of their students is getting a fair and quality education during remote and hybrid learning.
Listen to the full conversation with Evan Robb on our Tackling Tech Podcast!
On this episode of Tackling Tech Podcast, powered by Dyknow, Brett McGrath speaks with Middle School Principal, Evan Robb. Evan is a Ted Talk speaker, author, and progressive thinker. He shares how he cultivates a school environment that is encouraging risk-taking and how they are making the shift from emergency to intentional remote learning.
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