TEACHING AND LEARNING
Increasing equity through educational technology
“New technologies have tremendous potential to improve student learning, but many pieces in a complex system need to be working seamlessly to make this happen.”
—Justin Reich, Assistant Professor
Justin Reich was ready to observe a teacher integrating technology into her lesson plan at a school in rural New Hampshire. Her school had bought the laptops, Reich says. She had reserved them. They were charged. All of the kids were logged in. The power was on in the building. The wireless network was working. The projector bulb was working. The screen was working. But when the teacher went to plug the projector into the wall, the electrical socket fell behind the drywall, foiling her attempted lesson plan. “New technologies have tremendous potential to improve student learning,” Reich says, “but many pieces in a complex system need to be working seamlessly to make this happen.”
Reich, an assistant professor in MIT’s Comparative Media Studies/Writing Program (CMS/W), has remained excited about the possibilities that constantly evolving technologies have brought to the learning process over the last few decades. But while many believe that the free and low-cost learning tools becoming available have huge potential to lift up students from low-income families, he’s found that, in truth, this educational technology still benefits the affluent the most.