Have you ever heard of the Digital Divide? It refers to the gap between individuals and communities who have access to information technology and those that do not. Who does the Digital Divide affect the most? The students. In today’s system of education, a home computer is a necessity for students who wish to stay current with their peers. Assignments, homework, and everyday communication are all moving online. No one should be denied digital access.
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) posted definitions for Digital Equity and Digital Inclusion. These are definitions, working definitions, that will need to be adjusted as needed. As the work evolves, so must the definitions used. The easiest and simplest way to explain the differences in meaning between the two terms is that Digital Equity is the what or the goals and Digital Inclusion is the how or the activities needed to make sure all individuals and communities have access to digital resources.
Digital equity refers to whether people can access and effectively use the technology necessary to participate in modern society. Another phrase, “digital inclusion,” denotes efforts to remedy deficits in digital equity. Simply put, digital equity is what cities and states want, and digital inclusion is the work they and their partners are doing to create it.
For schools, being aware of digital inclusion issues moves all students and families towards digital equity. But fostering digital inclusion and working to bridge the digital divide is really a challenge. Technology and its expansion into schools and lessons is rapidly changing, and very few educators are versed in the complex access issues which extend well beyond the classroom.
Students deserve equal access to digital resources – anywhere at any time.
Digital equity is easier to define than it is to solve. It’s about making sure students have equal access to technology like devices, software and the internet, and that they have trained educators to help them navigate those tools. But how do we do this? A lack of digital access is a lack of access for education because a lot of resources can be found online. Again, students deserve equal access to digital resources.
Having a single student, even a single student, who lacks internet access outside the school continues the homework gap. When student cannot rely on adequate Internet access, they must continue to support old work habits and processes in addition to the new, digitally based processes. Of course, not all schoolwork will be digital, but for those learning experiences that are, a lack of access is costly.
As teachers, you can ask yourselves:
· Are you aware of students who have connectivity...