Chromebooks and browsers can ensure equal education access.
GUEST COLUMN | by Jonathan Lieberman
Gen Zers, or “Zoomers,” are our first generation of students who have been immersed in tech and social media throughout their lives. Yet, despite all the resources we’ve put into their hands, they’re telling us they’re still dissatisfied with their learning experiences. They feel forced into “old school” approaches that aren’t preparing them for the futures they want.*
Towards STEM and CTE
At the same time, our school districts, governments, and parents are encouraging them towards STEM programs and Career and Technical Education (CTE): all of which are highly technology dependent. They involve high-powered, graphics-intensive apps like CAD, photo and video editing, and software developer tools.
Our students want tech because they’ve grown up with it. But we’ve provided tech that has built-in walls.
‘Our students want tech because they’ve grown up with it. But we’ve provided tech that has built-in walls.’
We’ve constructed CTE labs, but they’re open only during school hours – and maybe a few beyond. We’ve equipped them with Chromebooks that are great for writing and research, but not for STEM and CTE apps. Students who have suitable technology in their homes can continue CTE studies at home. But too many are not so fortunate.
A Solution, Not a Stumbling Block
And these aren’t just walls, they’re dividers. Children who are under-equipped with tech are digital have-nots.
Tech is meant to be a solution – not a stumbling block. We can equip every student with an inexpensive, secure Chromebook (or other suitable device) that can run CAD and render video – and do virtually anything else our students may need. This is possible through technologies that can deliver an app through a web browser.
The Best Possible Education
Every parent – I among them – wants their children to have the best possible education. We want their school curricula to do the best job of preparing them for their futures, and their learning experiences to keep them engaged through the distractions of their digital lives. And we want the same for every child. An equal computing experience for every student is possible today.
Today, any device that can run a web browser can be enabled to run AutoCAD, Adobe® Creative Suite with photo and video editing, software development apps, and others. These current, state-of-the-art, browser technologies will smash the walls of the CTE labs, giving our students 24/7 access from any location where their devices can connect.
Let’s help our students fully experience learning with the technologies they’ll be using to earn a living, to help raise their families, and teach the next generation. Let’s provide equal access for every student. Our futures depend on it.
*These findings are from “Checking in with Gen Z,” by John Della Volpe, Director of the Harvard Youth Poll in partnership with the Walton Family Foundation. Published in the Fall of 2022.
Jonathan Lieberman, CEO and Co-founder of itopia, is committed to making high tech education equally accessible to everyone. With the help of itopia, now more than 2 million students across 20 U.S. states can remotely access and stream top industry apps. itopia has received the 2023 Google Cloud Industry Solutions – Tech Partner of the Year for Education Award.