Pure online learning and blended learning has gained enormous popularity in past few years. Blended learning or hybrid learning is adopted in many institutes including the schools. A mix of classroom and online learning has worked in the favour of the students whereas teachers have more time to focus on the development of the students. One the other hand, at the higher education level, e-learning has become incredible education tool for gaining advanced knowledge and skill. Besides, digital learning improves Information and communication technology (ICT) skill of the learners. They become adapt to use technologies for the constructive purpose. But, we all have equal access to learning techs? In the year 2000, the Dakar Framework had cautioned about the aggravating imbalance and said,
“Technology should serve, rather than drive, education strategies.”
Digital equality gap
Our world is divided. There are developed, developing and undeveloped countries. In the developed nations children, youth students and professionals have access the to the most advanced techs which help them to take education. Similar is the case with the developing countries, however, here technologies may not be of that level. Here, accessing education via tech has recently picked up. And last is the part of the world where even the traditional education is not up to the mark, so we can imagine if adequate learning technologies are being used. The report of UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) reveals that in Nepal, Egypt, Philippines and Republic of Dominic 100 students have only one computer. In the primary schools. Though there is the scope of free online learning with Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) but what are students have no technology to access it? This disparity might create a gap between the underserved and education. The UIS report consists data of many other countries where the digital imbalance is persisting.
Mobile education: Tool to control the digital disparity
Mobile technology has made many things easy which earlier was not possible. Let's take the instance of education itself- a student enrolled in online MBA course can participate in learning from his/ her smartphone or other mobile devices with the internet connection. With a number of mobile device user on the increase, this could help to bridge the gap of digital disparity. At the primary and secondary level of schooling, the government should equip the classroom with technologies like mobile tech. This will help them to engage students with digitised learning system. Since prices of the mobile devices have become affordable, so this may not be constraint among the middle-income group to avail the device. They can use this device to participate in online learning. Moreover, government and policy makers should provide devices to the poor or needy to make sure they remain engaged to education.
Joint effort to lower the digital inequality
Mobile learning can help millions who have the desire to take up learning but due to various reasons they cant. They can take online learning via mobile techs according to their own convenience. Since most of the e-learning programmes allow students to download the study materials, students can engage in learning at any time from any place. Countries and leaders have to join hands to provide mobile devices so that poor students can, at least, take free MOOC learning.
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