I believe that schools can ensure the equitable access of digital tools and resources to all students. This can be done by using a Digital Equity Toolkit, which is a guide for educators who want to integrate Internet, email, and other free resources inside their classrooms. First, most school systems will provide students with free Internet use before, during and after school. Students can take a trip to their local library or free restaurants/cafés that offers free Wi-Fi service. Next, teachers can distribute parents a list of resources to gain free to low cost Internet access and a computer from companies such as Comcast. Educators can also visit a site called Donors Choose.org, and create a project to get free stuff donated to students at your local school. This could include anything from pencils and paper, to digital technology such as iPads, computers, reading tablets and so on. Checkout a project I created to get a free iPad donated for my at-risk students. My project is titled Apps for At Risk Youth, Keep’em From Dropping Out That’s Truth. It did not cost me a thing! After reading the article Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America, I realize that children young to adolescent will use a variety of digital media on a daily basis. It is important that classrooms teachers and parents provide tons of educational resources that children may benefits from. Khan Academy, TED, MIT Open Course Ware Program, iTunes, PBS, Discovery Education, National Geographic, Peer 2 Peer University, University of the People are just a few sites where not only students learn educational content, but parents of any educational level or socioeconomic status can use, because these resources are low cost to free.
Technology-related best practices for all students and teachers may include any of these five strategies, that I learned about from reading the Digital Divide Blog. First, teachers should encourage many opportunities for students to access technology in and out of the classroom. This could be done by students working on Engaged Learning Projects, blogging, and use of Internet Web 2.0 tools. Second, teachers should continue to challenge student’s perceptions about the role of technology in education. Some textbooks in low income schools may be five to ten years old. Teaching outdated information will only hurt the student in the end. Having access to the Read/Write Web, Podcasts, Blogging, Wikispaces and Internet Safety are just a few things teachers can use, to challenge students perception on the role of technology. Next, teachers can encourage students to recognize the critical link between technology, professional development and classroom practice. For example, taking an online course in high school, can prepare a student for online courses in college, and teaching online as a professional career. Also continuing to seek funding for technology in spite of challenges, it just another way to bridge the great divide. Lastly, helping students understand how technology plays a significant role in culture, global awareness, and students educational experiences just proves that technology is the key to not only learning, but to gain new meaning in the world around them. Becoming technology literate is a must to thrive in today’s global economy. I hope to continue to provide my colleagues and students with an array of tools and resources to connect, inspire and transform the world as 21st century leaders using digital technology.
Barron, B., Walter, S. E., Martin K.,C., Schatz, C. "Predictors Of Creative Computing Participation And Profiles Of Experience In Two Silicon Valley Middle Schools." Computers & Education 51.1 (2010): 178–189
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. (3rd ed.). Thousand Oak, California: Corwin