If you’ve been anywhere near an ed tech conference or publication recently, you’ve been exposed to the phrase “digital equity.” CoSN just released a Digital Equity Action Toolkit. The toolkit describes the homework gap that is a consequence of the lack of high speed internet connections in high poverty areas. Digital equity is one of the Alliance for Excellent Education’s primary issues. The Alliance’s Caroline Waldman blogged a thoughtful response to the February 22 New York Times article on the FCC’s recommendation to address the homework gap by updating Lifeline, a program that provides a discount on monthly phone service to eligible households, to include broadband access.
SIIA’s Vision K-20 project calls for robust technologies that “provide all members of the education community with anytime/anywhere educational access.” Benchmarking data from our annual Vision K-20 survey shows steady incremental growth toward this goal, yet the gap between current and ideal levels of implementation is about 60%.
While policy makers and school districts are working on the issue, I hope they give thought to where the best-connected among us are on the digital access spectrum. Would I give up the lightning-fast speed I have at home and at work? Could I do high-quality work if I didn’t have access to vast amounts of digital content? Would I be happy if I couldn’t personalize the way I use and respond to that content? No, no and no. Students and educators answer the same way.
The answer to how much access is enough is the same answer a five-year-old might give if asked how much ice cream she wants: LOTS! And giving into the charming logic of that, I’d give it to her.