S1E7 – Increasing Access & Equity with Technology

by EdCircuit Staff

In this episode, you’ll hear student, educator, and edtech industry perspectives on the role of technology in increasing educational access. 

The episode begins with Amy’s Thoughts, presented by host Amy Valentine, addressing the topic of technology and access (0:37). Universal access to education means all people, regardless of geography, gender, race or any other factor, receive access to a high-quality education. Technology is an equalizer that can advance access.

Then, in the featured interview (2:47), Amy speaks with Stuart Udell, CEO of Achieve3000, about the role technology plays in making school more relevant for students. Stuart cites research from the National Dropout Prevention Center, which showed that 46% of kids who dropped out of school stated the reason as being “bored,” which relates to both engagement and relevance. He discusses many different factors that can either increase or decrease how relevant school feels to students, and then describes some of the ways in which technology can support increased relevance. Amy and Stuart also discuss a variety of other angles, including the innovation schools have pursued in the years leading up to, and through, the pandemic. 

This episode’s Research Insight (17:10) addresses the digital divide, and specifically the statistic that nearly half of all rural schools have zero students enrolled in AP classes. This is a clear example of a divide that can be bridged through thoughtful implementation of online courses.

Next, Glen Stahl shares a student’s thoughts about the impact of online learning (17:40). While in high school, Glen took several online classes to allow for a more flexible schedule, which helped with his participation on the crew team. Glen explains that the top skill for students to develop is time management, which is essential for succeeding in online classes that work on a different schedule from the typical school week. 

The final segment is an interview with teachers Tracy and Maren Kelly (19:39). Tracy, who has been involved in online instruction for many years, and Maren, who was first introduced in 2020, share their perspectives on what’s misunderstood about online learning, strategies every educator should try, their biggest dreams for education, and more.

Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school. Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555 to keep up-to-date on exciting initiatives and opportunities.

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