A 12-year-old schoolgirl in the U.K, does her homework in a lay-by due to poor broadband and mobile connections. Grug Williams lives on a farm on the outskirts of Gwytherin village with “very sporadic” connections. She has to be driven a mile away from her home to find a wi-fi signal to download her schoolwork.
As well as going to a relative’s house to use their wi-fi, Grug and her mother also use the lay-by to access 4G. They create a hotspot with a mobile phone to connect their laptop to a network. According to her mother, Mrs Einir Williams, it is a laborious process that “is more stressful” and “eats into [their] family time as well”. She also said that young people, like her daughter, are being disadvantaged because of where they live.
A local councillor said that this “digital inequality” was a real problem for young people in the area especially since they are “forced to go away from their homes, to stay on after school to do their homework, to do their research, and not be able to do that at home because of this lack of connectivity”.
In today’s world, the internet and digital technology has become so ubiquitous and prevalent that it is now an essential tool in education. However, incorporating digital technology into classrooms demands a mature infrastructure that will ensure its true effectiveness. In the case highlighted in the article, the question to ponder is whether digital technology was adopted into the classroom before the infrastructure was truly ready. What is more important to remember here is that as educators, we need to be mindful that learning should be a joy, not an encumberance.
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