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Five Tips to Ease the Digital Divide and Promote Equity

June 11, 2018

Five Tips to Ease the Digital Divide and Promote Equity


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Do you know how many students in your classroom have access to computers and other digital devices outside school, and how many have access to internet to use them? And if you know students do not have access to devices or the internet, do you know why?

The digital divide is one of the more pervasive issues separating our students into the “haves” and the “have nots.” My colleagues at CoSN, the Consortium for School Networking, have been studying this issue in depth and have valuable insight on what causes this divide and how it stifles learning and leads to the “homework gap.”

We know that successful schools make sure all students can benefit from learning opportunities driven by advances in technology. For example, these schools work to provide students who lack home resources with the devices needed to complete schoolwork and with opportunities to use broadband in school as well as libraries and other locations.

CoSN has found that students without home access to high-quality broadband connectivity are at a disadvantage, unable to realize the full power of digital learning. Only 3 percent of teachers in high-poverty schools say that their students have the digital tools necessary to complete homework assignments, compared with 52 percent of teachers in more affluent schools, thus, the discrepancy of the homework gap.

CoSN’s Keith Krueger and Susan Bearden recently joined the Learning First Alliance for a Facebook Live presentation on this issue. LFA’s “Elements of Success” report discusses this issue through the lens of equity.

Krueger and Bearden had valuable advice for teachers and administrators looking to improve digital equity in their schools. But first, teachers must understand why a student doesn’t have access—perhaps the student has access to a computer or other device, but the family may only have one device for multiple children. In other cases, a student may only have limited access to the internet through a smartphone.

Learning First Alliance
The Learning First Alliance is a partnership of leading education organizations that together represent more than 10 million educators, parents and local policymakers dedicated to improving student learning in America's public schools. We share examples of success, encourage collaboration at every... See More

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