Advancing Education Through Technology

The Digital Shift From Traditional
Learning Environments

Our ability to compete in a digital world hinges on how we prepare future generations for the workforce. Early childhood development is critical in arming the next generation with the technical and analytical skills they need to succeed. 

Globally, 92% of future jobs will need digital skills, and 45% of jobs will require workers who can configure and work confidently with digital systems and technology.

Technology-based education prepares students to engage in the digital workforce while also personalizing education experiences for educators, students and parents alike. Though technology adoption in the classroom had been increasing steadily over the past few years, the COVID-19 pandemic has expedited the digital shift. 


Schools faced massive disruption due to stay-at-home orders, embracing virtual learning overnight while trying to maintain online student, parent and administration engagement. This transformation has illuminated the benefits and opportunities of advanced technology — and underscored challenges, like access inequality among students, we still need to address in education.

More than 1.6BN learners were affected by
the pandemic, representing 94% of students worldwide.

A Rapid Transition to Remote Learning

In 2019, 57% of U.S. students were using digital learning tools daily. Yet, the adoption of digital education was still far from universal. When the pandemic forced school closures, it gave way to an unprecedented experiment in remote education and proved the necessity for investment in software, devices and training to construct completely new digital learning environments.

Empowering Education Continuity

Transitioning an entire school district online is a daunting task without the immediacy created by a global pandemic. Even districts with digital tools already in place faced immense challenges to mitigate disruption to their learning and administrative processes.


PowerSchool, which provides schools with centralized and online administrative, management, reporting technology and analytics, helped schools make this remote transition quickly while limiting disruption to students and teachers.


The company recognized the hardships many school districts experienced as a result of the sudden disruption to in-person learning. In response, they offered their basic software to teachers for free and made their distance learning software available to any school district in the country with deferred payment. Districts already using PowerSchool solutions were able to increase their distance-learning licenses at no additional cost to ensure every student could participate in remote learning.

PowerSchool’s Schoology learning platform has seen a 400% increase in usage by students and a 1,000% increase in usage by parents.

With its recent acquisition of Schoology, PowerSchool is increasing its impact on students, offering districts cloud-based personalized teaching aids and expanding its remote learning technologies. In addition to a 400% increase in student interaction, PowerSchool's Schoolology learning platform has also seen a 95% student engagement rate since the pandemic began.

Addressing Technological Disparities

Lack of access to devices or the internet is one of the most significant and detrimental hurdles to the universal adoption of education technology. Prior to COVID-19, 43% of teachers felt their biggest digital learning challenge was that students did not have access to the necessary technology at home. The pandemic has made these technological and digital disparities glaringly apparent, as some students have been able to continue their schoolwork virtually, and others are without the necessary tools required to keep up.

More than 9MM students in the United States
don’t have the internet access required for
online learning.

This issue is not new, but the pandemic has highlighted the challenge of attempting to teach students virtually when a significant number of them don't have access to the technology needed to succeed and stay connected. Companies and school districts have had to take matters into their own hands to address these disparities.


Some of the country's largest internet providers have increased upload and download speeds at no cost or reduced rates. Meanwhile, some school districts have outfitted and parked their out-of-use school buses in neighborhoods to serve as Wi-Fi hotspots. While these short-term solutions have helped students participate in virtual learning, we need to carve out more permanent pathways for people to access technology, regardless of if there is a crisis. As education continues to advance, we have a responsibility to ensure students aren't left behind.


Internship programs are another critical component in ensuring today’s students are prepared to enter the workforce and can help close the digital divide, giving students an equal playing field. And, while many businesses have had to cancel or postpone their student internship programs, initiatives from InternX and Girls Who Invest forged ahead with remote opportunities to accelerate the future workforce in this climate. These programs provide sophomores the opportunity to continue their learning path and professional advancement journey through technology-enabled programs.


Making Technology an Education Imperative

The pandemic has shown how enterprise software can advance the ways in which education is delivered and received. As students and teachers return to the classroom, digital solutions that served as a remote learning quick fix can provide other benefits, such as interactivity, flexibility and collaborative learning environments. 

7 in 10 school administrators believe that digital learning tools provide real-world problem-solving skills.

Source: Google for Education

With an evident need for educational support, companies like and Scratch are leading the pack. They have identified the whitespace for these resources specific to digital skills and are making them widely available to students, educators and guardians alike. 


Technology-based curriculums are a low-cost alternative to textbooks and can provide a more engaging experience for students through video, audio and virtual and augmented reality. Data collected through AI can help teachers gain insight from a much larger source to identify patterns and proactively adjust a student’s learning trajectory.


As teachers juggle the challenges of transitioning to virtual learning with their own COVID-19 realities, bandwidths have been stretched to the limit. With AI-powered software helping to automate and design lesson plans and curriculum, teachers have more time and resources to provide targeted, hands-on teaching.

A Future Paved by Technology

The pandemic has proven to be a catalyst for broader digitization in the education sector. But it has also highlighted inequities in technology accessibility. The spotlight on the digital divide in schools puts added pressure on both the public and private sectors to ensure all students have access to the devices and connectivity necessary to benefit from the same education as their classmates.


What schools and students gain from this experience continues to unfold. Still, the pandemic has dramatically altered the role of technology in education and our perception of what defines a classroom environment. As we consider what the next evolution of education looks like, we must look for digital solutions that help every student prosper. Only then will the next generation have equitable access to the digital economy.