The digital divide in education — a term that refers to the gap between students who do and don't have easy and reliable access to the internet and technology — looks different depending on who it affects.

Sometimes it's a kid squinting at a cellphone screen because they don't have a home computer, struggling to do their homework as their parents worry about the family data plan running out.

Other times, it's a student who's grown up with limited internet access, so they have trouble figuring out how to use the digital platforms they need in order to attend class remotely.

Then there are the siblings who have to attend remote school at the same time, but the family only has one computer and a spotty WiFi connection.

Before COVID-19 hit, 30 percent of K-12 public school students lived in homes without internet connections or devices they could use for remote learning, according to an analysis of the most recent data, from 2018, from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Education Statistics.

But the pandemic has brought this issue into stark contrast, because some students have stable home internet and others don't, says Katrina Stevens, who worked on best practices in digital learning in the Obama administration and is president of the Tech interactive, a family-friendly science and technology center.

In the U.S., one in three Indigenous, Black, and Latino families don't have access to high-speed internet at home. Only about 21 percent of white families lack this service, according to an analysis of 2018 data by the Alliance for Excellent Education, the National Indian Education Association, the National Urban League, and the Latino advocacy organization UnidosUS.

But, for people itching to help lessen the blow of the digital divide in their communities, there are some things you can do. Mashable spoke with Stevens and Krueger to get their recommendations.

  • Broadcast community resources
  •  Band together
  • Teachers and principals: Check in with students

Read the full article about closing the digital divide by Siobhan Neela-Stock at Mashable.