It happened slowly, then all at once. Vague news from Wuhan, stories from Seattle, then a run on hand sanitizer and paper towels. Within a few weeks, districts nationwide had canceled in-person classes, Chromebooks had sold out, and edtech companies were inundated as educators were forced to reinvent school in the digital space.
It has been a year since we started shutting our schools and transitioning to remote learning. Tragically, this has led to many students falling behind—especially low-income students and English language learners. The pandemic has compounded many of the systemic inequities that plague our schools.
Edtech had the opportunity to help address these inequities. In some ways, edtech has risen to this challenge, but the field has also learned some things the hard way. Here are four major lessons our industry should take from the pandemic.
1. Easy access to high-quality, open materials is essential.
When the pandemic hit, students needed high-quality digital learning materials—fast. It became urgently important that the most vulnerable students be able to continue their education with the same learning materials, made accessible to them regardless of their circumstances.