Bridging the Gap in AI-Educated Futures

Discover how AI and Salesforce are transforming education, empowering students with personalised support, streamlining processes, and revolutionising learning.
Bridging the Gap in AI-Educated Futures | Pracedo | Summit Salesforce Partner

This is the second article in our two-part series on AI in education. In case you missed the first article, please revisit it by clicking here.

 

As we delved into Emma’s story in our previous discussion, we uncovered the transformative potential of AI in personalising education. However, this technological evolution also casts a spotlight on a persistent and critical issue: the digital divide. This divide not only concerns access to technology but also extends to disparities in educational support and resources. In a landscape increasingly shaped by AI, a pivotal question emerges: How do we ensure that students who lack access to technological tools at home are not left behind?

 

Salesforce, a vanguard in cloud-based solutions, steps up to address this challenge head-on. Its educational tools, particularly Salesforce Education Cloud and Tableau, are not merely advancements in technology; they are instrumental in identifying and supporting students who need help the most. By enabling educators to pinpoint and target those who lack access or are struggling, Salesforce plays a crucial role in levelling the educational playing field.

 

The influence of technology on educational disparity is significant. Students without home access to digital tools face a steep uphill battle in keeping pace with their peers. This gap is not just about hardware; it extends to the support and personalised learning that technology can facilitate. This challenge is not unique to any single country. In the UK, for instance, during the coronavirus lockdown, only 51% of households earning between £6000-10,000 had home internet access, compared to 99% of households earning over £40,001, highlighting a stark digital divide. This disparity extends beyond the UK; as noted in our previous article, in California, broadband access was much lower among low-income, Black, and Latino K–12 households during the pandemic. Such statistics underline the global nature of this problem.

 

The digital divide’s implications are profound and far-reaching, impacting not only immediate educational outcomes but also long-term economic prospects. The disparity in access to digital tools, as seen in the UK and California, exemplifies a global challenge that extends far beyond geographical borders. It represents a broader issue of educational equity, where the lack of technological resources at home can hinder a student’s ability to compete and succeed in an increasingly digital world. This challenge necessitates a global response, one that addresses the roots of this inequality and seeks to provide equitable access to technology for all students.

 

This need for an inclusive approach to technology in education is further highlighted by the Boston Consulting Group’s research. The economic impact of the digital divide is startling, with the potential loss in GDP due to lower lifetime incomes of K-12 students affected by this divide estimated to be between $22 billion to $33 billion annually. This statistic not only emphasises the individual costs borne by students who fall behind due to lack of access but also the broader economic repercussions that societies might face. In this context, Salesforce’s mission to provide accessible educational tools becomes even more critical. By equipping educators and institutions with the means to identify and support students who are most at risk of falling into the digital divide, Salesforce is taking vital steps towards creating a more equitable and economically resilient future.

Salesforce's Educational Tools: A Solution to Accessibility

In response to these challenges, Salesforce’s Education Cloud and Tableau emerge as potent solutions. Salesforce Education Cloud provides a dynamic platform that allows educators to monitor student progress comprehensively. It’s a tool that goes beyond tracking academic achievements; it enables educators to identify students who are struggling due to a lack of access to learning resources. This identification is crucial for providing targeted support and ensuring that no student falls through the cracks.

 

Tableau’s data analytics further enhances this capability. By dissecting educational data, Tableau helps educators understand complex patterns, such as which students have limited access to technology at home or who are not engaging effectively with digital learning platforms. This understanding is critical for developing strategies that provide equitable support to all students.

 

Together, Salesforce Education Cloud and Tableau represent a transformative approach in education, providing the means to not only identify students in need of additional support but also to implement targeted, effective strategies. They ensure that every student, irrespective of their home access to technology, receives the attention and resources necessary to succeed in an AI-enhanced educational landscape.

 

Addressing the Global Digital Divide

Building on the insights from our earlier discussion, let’s explore hypothetical scenarios that further demonstrate Salesforce’s potential in combating educational inequality globally.

 

Bridging the Divide in a London School

  • The Challenge: Imagine a London school where a significant portion of students come from low-income families earning between £6000-10,000, with limited or no internet access at home.
  • Salesforce’s Intervention: The school adopts Salesforce Education Cloud to identify students struggling due to digital exclusion. It uses the platform to provide targeted educational support and resources.
  • Human Impact: A teacher, Mr. Smith, can now help students like Lily, who previously couldn’t participate in online learning. With Salesforce, he ensures Lily receives a tablet with pre-loaded educational content and arranges after-school support. Lily’s academic performance begins to improve, reflecting the broader success of this initiative.

 

Elevating Learning in a Californian District

  • The Scenario: In a Californian school district, where broadband access is notably lower among low-income and minority households, the digital divide exacerbates educational disparities.
  • Implementing Tableau: The district employs Tableau to analyse data on student access to technology and internet connectivity.
  • The Outcome: Armed with this data, the district launches a program to provide Wi-Fi hotspots and laptops to students in need. Teachers receive training on integrating digital tools into their teaching to support all students effectively.
  • Broader Implications: This initiative not only elevates the educational experience for marginalised students but also aligns with broader state efforts to close the digital divide.

 

These hypothetical scenarios showcase Salesforce’s ability to offer solutions that address the specific challenges of educational inequity in different contexts. In the UK scenario, Salesforce Education Cloud helps to mitigate the impact of income-related digital exclusion, while in the Californian context, Tableau enables the district to tailor its resources to the needs of its diverse student body. These examples highlight the importance of using technology not just as a tool for teaching and learning but as a means to ensure every student has equal opportunities to succeed, irrespective of their socio-economic background.

Challenges and Future Outlook: A Salesforce Partner's Perspective

Navigating the integration of Salesforce solutions in education offers valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. While the potential impact of Salesforce on education is significant, addressing the practical hurdles requires a nuanced approach.

 

One of the central challenges revolves around bridging the gap between technology and educators who may not be inherently tech-savvy. Our experience underscores the importance of comprehensive training and ongoing support. Customised training modules tailored to the specific needs of educators can significantly reduce the learning curve. These modules should not only cover the technical aspects but also emphasise the pedagogical benefits of Salesforce tools.

Moreover, fostering a culture of collaboration among educational institutions, Salesforce, and partners like us is pivotal. The exchange of best practices, insights, and success stories can create a thriving ecosystem where challenges are addressed collectively. Our commitment to enhancing collaboration features within its platforms aligns perfectly with this approach which aligns perfectly with our mission. By facilitating communication between teachers, students, and parents, we can build a supportive educational community.

 

As we look towards the future, Salesforce’s commitment to creating an inclusive, accessible, and technologically advanced educational landscape is more than just a promise; it’s a pathway to an empowered generation of learners. In this vision, every student, regardless of background or location, has access to the tools and opportunities needed to succeed in an increasingly digital world.

Jack Stevens

Jack Stevens

This article was written by Jack Stevens, Education Practice Director at Pracedo. Boasting a rich tapestry of experience in Salesforce consulting and account management, Jack's journey has been marked by roles at industry titans like 4C and Salesforce itself. His profound grasp of Salesforce solutions has been a catalyst for business transformation, aiding many enterprises in refining their sales processes and sparking growth through inventive, impactful strategies. Jack's expertise isn't just deep—it's expansive, covering a spectrum from lead generation and customer acquisition to retention and encompassing strategic planning and execution with finesse.

At Pracedo, we’re not just Salesforce Consultants. We’re the driving force behind innovation, change, and visionary solutions dedicated to boosting revenue. Our mission is to redefine the customer journey by simplifying processes and helping people to work smarter, not harder. Our purpose is to create a lasting impact on people, organisations, and communities, all powered by the capabilities of Salesforce.

Tags Salesforce, Education Cloud, Tableau

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