Without a doubt, education is one of the most important developmental factors in the upbringing of children. In the knowledge economy of today, jobs and opportunities depend upon it. Of particular importance is an understanding of our technologically oriented world. In Australia, this is recognised by numerous politicians. In 2015, Bill Shorten outlined an actionable Labour Government plan to “ensure that computer coding is taught in every primary and secondary school in Australia so the next generation have the skills they need for the jobs of the new economy.” Even outside Labour initiatives, schools across the country began adopting this ethos. The following year, it was decided at a summit that all Queensland prep schools would begin providing coding lessons to students as young as four. “We have to acknowledge that this is the world students now live in,” began Professor Jason Zagami of Griffith University. “We have to prepare them for that world.”

However, with this increasing need for education in technology comes the irrevocable need for technology in education. From 2008 to 2013, the Federal Government funded and issued almost one million computers to students across Australia, facilitating the ability to learn through modern means, not just the classroom. For example, services like DevOps Foundation Certification Training provide an entirely online educational suite consisting of scheduled courses, exams and certified instructors. The implications of this are both figuratively and literally far-reaching; even when access to a classroom is impossible, students of all ages can acquire the qualifications they need to ready themselves for future study or higher employment opportunities. Even outside Australia the trend is growing. In 2012, the Estonian Tiger Leap Foundation launched the ProgeTiiger Initiative to provide knowledge of coding to all who sought it out. “ProgeTiiger has set up and compiled freely available information into training packets,” said head of Tiger Leap Foundation Ave Lauringson. “They can either go into a classroom and learn or do a 4-week e-learning.” This degree of flexibility is truly a new height for education. It matters far less now where you live or how rich you are in determining whether you have the right to learn.

Yet, there is still an imbalance. A 2016 Google-Gallup research survey found that Black and Hispanic students in the United States are 1.5x – 1.7x more likely to be interested in CS education opportunities, yet have less access to CS classes and exposure to computers. It revealed that, “only 58 percent of Black and 50 percent of Hispanic students say they used a computer at least most days at home, compared to 68 percent of white students.” Stats from Humanium reveal the gap in access to education across the world. According to them, 72 million children remain uneducated world-wide, with Sub-Saharan Africa being the most affected area. In a world where services like training in the DevOps framework exist online, computer science education is compiled into digestible packages and hardware made so readily available, it’s a terrible shame that this is still the case.

So, does technology improve education? The answer seems to be yes on account of improved accessibility. Yet, technology and accessibility alone are not the only deciding factors in whether or not the impoverished and disadvantaged see the benefits. Although the future has never been brighter, we must be hungry for even more advanced education technology so one day, we might all learn together.

This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.