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Role of the Public School
Funded by the government, the school helps students obtain compulsory education to become full U.S. citizens. Since its inception, American schools have valued the freedom and opportunity of students. Nevertheless, according to Johann Neem (2018), the values of modern American schools have undergone several significant changes: gradually, by transforming learning into a service, educational institutions have radically changed the concepts. From now on, the primary mission of schools is to convey to the child the idea that his or her future is linked to personal success and economic achievement. In other words, the school as an institution has overshadowed the issues of equality, humanism, and ethics, bringing the importance of financial prosperity to the minds of young Americans. Neem repeatedly points to the importance of educational reforms aimed at preventing further capitalization of education. Democracy, empathy, and the unification of such a diverse nation must form the basis of reformed schools.
The Importance of Information Technology
The issue of the use of technologies in the educational process becomes particularly relevant due to the development of a variety of practical applications. In particular, in his work, Herold (2016) addresses the question of how exactly new computer and network solutions affect the school, students, and teachers. The world does not stand still, and the rapidly evolving technologies are designed to facilitate interaction between teachers and students significantly. The introduction of new information proposals in the field of education provides an opportunity to qualitatively change the methods and organizational forms of learning, making it more comfortable and accessible. For example, in the past, when classrooms in the United States were not equipped with computers, teachers had to make additional efforts to provide visual materials for students. Now, with electronic whiteboards and presentation software in classrooms, the process of transferring knowledge seems more straightforward for both parties at once.
At the same time, an essential issue in the topic of school education is the study of communication interaction with children whose physical capacities are limited. Not all pupils are mobile enough to be able to leave home and go to school. However, regardless of their health, children should receive primary education. Technology also comes to the aid of teachers in this challenging task (Herold, 2016). At first glance, it seems that they only increase the distance between pupils and teachers, reducing the role of the latter. However, in reality, this is different: through distance communication, the connection between the pupil and the teacher is strengthened. Thanks to services and platforms, learners become more involved in the educational process and, as a result, their performance is improved.
The main task of future education is to bring technological advances and human capabilities together so that schools can respond to the high demands of the future with dignity. Innovative solutions are gradually becoming a familiar part of life and are manifesting themselves in different ways. For example, devices are integrated into classrooms, teachers, and artificial intelligence work in synergy, and the curriculum is adapted to the pace and style of education of each child, and the process itself becomes continuous.
The Injustice of Distance Education
Except for the problem of economic priorities, new schools are increasingly moving away from the accepted norms of ethnic and demographic equality. Indeed, the world of the twenty-first century does not tolerate discrimination or segregation, however, it is observed, although not explicitly. A significant issue highlighted by Neem is the inviolable principle of equality for all schoolchildren, shifted by economic interests and increased competitiveness. In the pursuit of new educational programs or the introduction of innovative technologies into the learning process, educators and leaders often forget that all such procedures must be followed to improve learning. While managers or officials can report on the achievement of modern learning standards, including digitalization, schoolchildren living in poverty will not have access to a computer or the Internet (World Bank, 2020). This is particularly noticeable in the current coronavirus pandemic environment.
What started as one week of school closures has evolved into a month, and, in some cases, schools locking their doors for the remainder of the academic year. This has created a revolving door of uncertainty for many educators, who must now think creatively about how to continue to support students despite being physically distant. One shift that is changing the face of education is the transition to online learning. With the advent of technology and continuously improving digital infrastructure, distance learning becomes possible, thus ensuring a way for students to continue their education in the event of a school closure.
However, it is clear that global school closures beg the question of equitable outcomes; a schooling environment brings children from all walks of life into one common ground – taking that environment away means that children are no longer on equal footing. There is a multitude of different factors that will result in every student having different outcomes from one another: family size, household size, jobs of parents, location of household, household income level, and accessibility to digital infrastructure, to name a few. Lack of access to technology or fast and reliable internet access is an obstacle to students in rural areas and from disadvantaged families. To aid in slowing the transmission of COVID-19, hundreds of libraries have temporarily closed. In the United States, numerous significant cities announced public library closures. For students without the Internet at home, this increases the difficulty of keeping up with distance learning. Household circumstances independent of the ability to do distance learning is also an essential factor. Factors such as having the privacy of being able to sit in for a class every day or family dynamics all make or break elements for conducting efficient distance learning.
In addition to the negative consequences for people living in poverty, the use of information technologies can also harm the basic principles of the educational process. As a rule, teachers resort to videoconferencing platforms for lessons. Even though personal contact between students and the teacher remains, there is a rejection of face-to-face communication. As a result, the ability to provide emotional support to a learner in time becomes impossible. (World Bank, 2020). Moreover, distance education requires strong self-discipline, as both students and teachers tend to learn and teach from home, where the working atmosphere is rarely present. To withstand an hour-long class in front of a computer or telephone monitor, students need incredible concentration, and educators need to learn strategies for using information technology in their daily work. A significant consequence of distance learning is the lack of practical work in laboratories where students can acquire real applied skills. In fact, the best technological decisions allow to recreate an environment of practices so that the pupil nearly did not notice a difference, however, it is still tied on presence at school student rather productive technics.
In conclusion, it should be noted that, to date, there is not only one view on the use of information technology in the educational environment. On the one hand, they unambiguously contribute to the achievement of efficiency in the education of schoolchildren with little mobility and allow them to diversify the learning process. On the other hand, however, networking-based learning generates injustice that discriminates against the poor. The modern American school, while progress has been made and society has changed, must remain an alma mater to educate U.S. citizens who are capable of spiritual, emotional, and moral prosperity rather than just economic development.
- Herold, B. (2016). Technology in education: An overview. Education Week. Web.
- Neem, J. (2018). Schools have a nobler purpose than just career prep. Education Week. Web.
- World Bank. (2020). Remote learning and COVID-19 [PDF document]. Web.