Giving Compass' Take:

• Beth Holland, writing for Getting Smart, discusses how teachers can implement specific strategies that address the digital equity issues in the classroom. 

• Pew Research Center found that 35% of households with school-aged children and a yearly income of less than $35,000 lack access to high-speed Internet. How can donors help schools access the right resources to address the disparity?

• Read about how the Digital Equity Act will help address the digital divide. 

Thanks to initiatives such as the Federal E-Rate program, which provides discounted Internet access and funding for schools and districts, most students now have the ability to get online while in school.

However, once students head home, they may lack high-speed Internet as well as a device other than a smartphone, resulting in what policymakers now term the homework gap. A recent survey from the Pew Research Center found that 35% of households with school-aged children and a yearly income of less than $35,000 lack access to high-speed Internet.

Further, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that in 2015, only 61% of school-aged children reported having Internet at home, and yet 80% of eighth-grade students indicated that they needed a computer to complete assignments. Whereas the effects of the Digital Divide have been lessened to some effect for students while in school, the most recent infrastructure survey from the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN) revealed that fewer than 10% of district leaders felt that ALL of their students had access outside of school.

This inequity of access to the Internet, and often devices, presents teachers with a quandary. An increasing number of schools and districts advocate for the use of digital tools for assignments, but students may not be able to access these platforms once they head home.

However, individual teachers can take steps to address the homework gap that could be lurking within their classrooms.

  • Identify Access Challenges
  • Secure Additional Resources
  • Universally Accessible Assignments

Finally, even if a school or classroom does not have access to devices, teachers can model digital literacy skills. Teachers can be conscious of how they model the ways in which they search for, validate, or analyze information; communicate and collaborate through various mediums; or leverage accessibility features to support their own learning.

Read the full article about strategies for tackling digital equity in the classroom by Beth Holland at Getting Smart.