Equity Over Equality
This post is part of an ongoing series of chapters from the book CHOICE. Please view this post for an introduction and table of contents. To keep up with each new chapter published, please subscribe.
The equity vs equality debate is everywhere in education and society in general. Depending on your definition and interpretation, the debate will take on different meaning. Here is what I am presenting for this book, in the terms of educational technology.
Equality is giving everyone the same thing. Equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful.
Equality is giving every student the same device. For example, every student gets a Chromebook. All students have the same device with the same capabilities. This a perceived level playing field.
Here is the problem... some students have a Chromebook at home and know how to use it well. Some students have an iPad at home and have no idea how to use a Chromebook.
All students are treated equal by receiving the same technology, but their skills and ability with the technology have great disparity. The end result won't be equal.
Equity is giving every student a device they are comfortable with using. They have a built in skill and ability level with the device. If a student uses an iPad at home, they can use an iPad at school. If they have a Chromebook at home, they can use a Chromebook at school. If they have a Linux desktop at home, let the student use Linux. Students and parents are able to decide together what device will provide the best use and lowest friction for their education.
Choice in technology is about equity. It's about giving every student the best device for them.