In the Spring of 2020, the world of education was transformed - seemingly overnight - as living rooms turned into classrooms and technology turned into one of the primary solutions for keeping learning alive.
Right off the bat however, many school districts ran into serious obstacles as they rolled out remote learning. Pre-pandemic estimates put the number of unconnected students in grades K-12 at 12 million. On top of this, the pandemic heightened preexisting issues across national and global education systems including a lack of digital inclusion, personalization to meet the needs of individual students and support for the development of teachers to match the skills needed for technology-based learning.
This gap in digital access and digital literacy left administrators, teachers, students, and caregivers scrambling for solutions. As a result, many school districts turned to technology companies, community organizations and partners to create solutions for groundbreaking education issues no one expected or were prepared to experience.
Dell Technologies custom approach
Dell Technologies' team of education strategists stepped up to address these challenges, work alongside our school district partners as trusted advisors and help elevate technology adoption amid the pandemic.
Made up of accomplished educators, industry specialists and digital infrastructure advocates, this team took a customized approach to each school district, marrying our knowledge of technology with education to support personalized learning plans for teachers and students alike.
We accomplished this through a three-fold approach, working with:
Customers - including schools, universities and State Departments of Education - lead networking groups, train teachers and provide resources and tools based on their needs.
Internal business verticals - including marketing, sales, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and government affairs - to understand how to best support communities based on individual and regional needs.
Partners - including Intel, ISTE, Microsoft, Google and SETDA - to create programs to bridge the digital divide based on the regional needs we uncovered, such as Girls Who Game and Student Tech Crew.
And it doesn't stop there. At Dell Technologies, we believe there is power in partnership and power in the community, so we worked to connect the many districts we work with as they navigated similar problems to share support, key learning and best practices.
Our focus on future impact
Over the last two years, three key areas of impact that have driven our work, and we expect will continue driving the reinvention of education across all levels include:
The future of education moving forward
Enabling learner-driven models, including designing opportunities for increased student agency and engagement through learner-driven environments focused on knowledge, skills and attributes.
Redefining professional learning, including engaging in personalized professional learning focused on a wide variety of areas to support the shifting role of teachers and learners. Learning should also shift from five times a year to five times a day by extending the modalities of learning to include asynchronous, virtual, VR, coaching, social media and just-in-time.
Strengthening digital inclusion, including addressing the digital divide and digital literacy gap, ensuring access to devices, broadband, meaningful content, skill-building and a high-quality teacher for every student.
As we continue to navigate, learn, and recover from the pandemic, it's important to consider what we want for our education models. We must ensure students' individual needs are met, and we must work together to reinvent learning experiences through enabling learner-driven models, redefining professional learning and strengthening digital inclusion to address the inequities that have been highlighted and exacerbated by the pandemic.
In the coming months and years, school districts, colleges and universities have the opportunity to reinvent education, and as we have seen, technology is a powerful catalyst for this change. At Dell Technologies, we are committed to supporting our school district partners and our communities to take the lessons we have learned from the pandemic and pair them with technology-based solutions to make learning equitable and inclusive for all.