“Will we be studying remotely forever?”. It was probably the hottest topic in all of the parents’ groups and communities this summer. And as the start of the academic year approached, the topic only got hotter. College and university students also felt uneasy: they, too, had their issues with e-learning. It will leave its mark on the students’ studies! Not everyone can perceive information when they receive it online. Therefore, each student must work on his or her knowledge. Many Essay Writers are ready to help a student who can’t cope with his or her tasks.
However, for most school students, this year is going to start almost normally: despite wearing masks and using sanitizers, there’s not much difference with the previous academic years. College and university students, on the contrary, continue to be at the forefront of the remote learning experiment, as many campuses have not yet reopened due to coronavirus-related health concerns.
So, like it or not, there are a lot of indicators that a great shift in the educational system, both secondary and higher, is inevitable. And it’s better to enter the era of distance learning being well-prepared, both psychologically and technologically.
It’s also crucial to take care of the students’ wellbeing during this turbulent period. Whenever possible, one should be able to get help with their assignments. There are a lot of ways to do it, from using your own knowledge to utilizing various essay writing services. Unbiased review sites will help you choose from a variety of options; read an EssayShark Review to get an idea of how it works. But the main question remains: how will students’ gadgets transform in the era of online education?
The Digital Divide
Remote learning can be delivered and attained only with the help of technological aids, or, putting it simply, gadgets. And here lie the roots of one of the biggest problems of e-learning: the digital divide.
The digital divide, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, is “the gulf between those who have ready access to computers and the internet, and those who do not.” Education means that less fortunate students who don’t have the means to afford the newest gadgets are bound to get lower education quality than their wealthier counterparts. To level these differences, gadgets will have to change a lot and become more affordable.
But there are other problems that even middle-class families and students that can afford good gadgets face.
Why Do We Need a Change?
Before remote learning began, it seems like no-one even noticed there was anything wrong with the technological equipment used by students. That is because there was nothing wrong! With in-class and on-campus education, gadgets played only a supporting role in the educational process. But when distance learning started, most students (and their parents) noticed the need to upgrade their equipment seriously.
Here are the most common problems that students and parents encountered during the lockdown:
- Lack of enough devices at home for everyone;
- Unstable internet connection;
- Low processing speed;
- Old and/or unsafe software;
- Lack of additional hardware for teleconferencing.
The reasons why these problems occurred were quite simple: before, most people used their at-home equipment for entertainment purposes only. Adults used to have everything they needed for work at their offices, and students had what they needed at school. Now, this approach has to be seriously reconsidered.
Better Equipment = Better Learning Experience
In the era of distance learning, gadgets will be playing a key role. In fact, they are already being used much more extensively than a decade or two ago. Now, even schoolkids use the internet for research, type their home assignments instead of writing them, and have digital school journals instead of traditional paper ones.
College students rely on gadgets even more in their study process: they also use various learning mobile apps, make notes and photos, record audio, and video. But for the full-fledged e-learning experience, that’s not enough.
In 2020, here’s the minimum of what students need for successful remote studying:
- Personal gadgets they don’t have to share – PC/laptop/tablet, smartphone;
- A stable internet connection and sufficient bandwidth;
- Good hardware and high processing speed;
- A web camera;
- A microphone;
- Noise-canceling headphones.
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And this is just the bare minimum. As technologies develop, new options will become necessary. For example, as Harvard Business Review points out, the capability to connect students’ and teacher’s personal devices into a network is a highly discussed topic at many teacher conferences worldwide.
Also, there’s other extra equipment to enhance the e-learning experience, like:
- An additional light source for webcams;
- A digital pen;
- A graphics tablet;
- A table mic stand;
- Blue-light blocking glasses.
However, these are not essential – most students can study remotely even without using the things from this list.
A Perfect Device
All that said, there are a few core characteristics that a perfect device for a remotely studying student should have. It has to be:
- Affordable, to level the effects of the digital divide on educational opportunities;
- Safe, to protect the student’s health and privacy;
- Highly productive, to be able to perform all the necessary tasks effectively;
- Multi-functional, to contain everything a student needs in one device;
- Portable, to enable a student to use it both at home and in class;
- Compatible, to be able to become a part of a network when necessary.
Do we have such a device on the market right now? Probably not, because every type of gadget has its pros and cons. Will we have such one? Most likely, as there’s obviously going to be a demand for it.
But even if there won’t be one single device suitable for all learning purposes, the way a typical student will need to be equipped for school, college, or university will change drastically in the era of distance learning.
Technology has been reshaping the way we live, work, entertain, and study for decades. So, the implementation of remote education was maybe just a question of time. The COVID-19 pandemic only catalyzed the process.
The technological market and the students themselves were not quite ready for this turn. But as new gadgets and technologies will emerge, and families will start reconsidering their “technical parks,” e-learning will eventually become a less stressful, more enjoyable, and easy process for all.