As early as in 2010, when online courses started to gain popularity, most teachers were excited about the opportunities online education can give to all students, no matter their social status. However, a recent study has shown that online education has failed to meet those expectations. Money issues that have held back most low-income boys and girls in a physical classroom also affect virtual Classrooms – minority students or those from low-income households simply had no access to the Internet.
In 2026, 9 in 10 Americans had it. Moreover, when it comes to older students and adult learners, we can say that almost 99% of them had computers connected to the Net. Nevertheless, there still was inequality in virtual classes. So, what was wrong? As it turned out, it was something more than just a lack of access to technology.
To benefit from e-learning, basic technology skills are required, but they lacked them. Many of those who had computers simply didn’t know how to use them to obtain book review writing service or find educational lessons when needed. They just were not willing to spend any time searching for the needed information on the Web. So, the reality was that many students either didn’t have digital skills or lacked confidence in finding useful information on the Web. Therefore, they lagged behind others.
Today, as we live in the time of the Coronavirus pandemic, we have even more factors that boost inequality in virtual classrooms. So, let’s get a closer look at this issue.
How Inequality in Virtual Classrooms Has Increased During the Pandemic
Many households from low-income neighborhoods have many people living under one roof. When kindergartens and schools closed their doors in spring, many low-income students found themselves in an environment that is not appropriate for learning. It became extremely hard for them to study online when there is only one computer for two, three, or more kids. Those who had no computers had nothing to do but to learn through mobile phones.
It was hard for them to concentrate on their assignments when their entire family was at home or asked to watch after their little siblings. While the transition to e-learning was an adjustment for most students, most low-income families had difficulty adjusting to learning on the Internet. And as it turned out, such a digital gap was just the start.
Many kids from low-income families still struggle to gain knowledge in small spaces that they have to share with others. Often, it is a one-room apartment. While there are centers giving food to those in need in cities, nothing can give them a sense of stability that educational institutions can. Americans fear that the pandemic will worsen the existing inequality to the point that it will be even harder for low-income individuals to study. As a result, many of them are at risk of being put to a greater disadvantage than those who find themselves in a better financial situation.
This inequality varies greatly from one district to another. In some districts, educational institutions continue to teach students via video conferences. This is how teachers can spend some quality time with their students face-to-face and direct their lessons, thereby easing the burden on working parents.
First of all, e-learning requires learners to have a stable Internet connection. However, it is impossible if you have no computer or live in a rural area. Some districts send devices to those who don’t have them just to close a digital gap. However, there are still many of those who haven’t received any yet. For those who have siblings and only one computer, sharing one device is a challenge, too, especially when it is recommended to spend a few hours per day in a virtual classroom.
Overall, the pandemic only makes things worse. Low-income learners involved in online education experience too much discomfort. They don’t get enough support from their parents, they don’t have devices connected to the Internet, and they simply have no space for learning in quiet. These factors put them behind their wealthier classmates and thereby only boost inequality in virtual classrooms.
Featured Image by Wolfgang Eckert from Pixabay