Education is supposedly the nation’s great equalizer, empowering every kind of student with tools and knowledge to pave the way for their futures. And yet, K-12 schools remain chronically underfunded, with their teachers and administrators often underpaid and overworked. Many schools across the country struggle to meet even basic needs, such as maintaining their classrooms, paying their teachers, and providing their students with school supplies. And as ﬁnancial need within schools prevails, simultaneously, technology has expanded to the point where it is omnipresent in everyday life, and therefore critical for students to grasp. But technology is expensive, more so than typical classroom necessities, meaning that this gap—between what schools need and what they can afford—is expanding, and growing more concerning.
How important is technology in education?
Though there’s nothing wrong with traditional teaching—without gadgets or technological assistance—technology does have the ability to make teacher’s lives easier while also improving student retention. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 92% of teachers said that the Internet has a major impact on their teaching, aiding their ability to ﬁnd helpful resources and materials for their students. Additionally, by having access to different learning tools such as videos, images, and games, teachers can help students with a wide range of learning styles.
But the most important reason to integrate technology into K-12 education is arguably because of the digitizing workforce. Many jobs now require basic technological skills. In fact, according to a report called “Digitizing and the American Workforce” most jobs—beyond obvious tech jobs, and including lawyers, nurses and receptionists, among others—are now classiﬁed as “moderately digital”. Meanwhile, “highly digital” jobs have tripled since 2002, and “low-digital jobs” have dropped from 55.7% to 29.5%--and this number continues to decrease.
This means that the more schools can educate students in technology and incorporate it into their curriculums, the more students will be prepared for their futures. But the problem still remains—how can schools struggling with funding manage to provide technological experience for their students? What are the steps that they need to take?