Digital Divide

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Bridging the Home School Tech Divide

There is something known as a “device gap” in schools, where students from lower-income backgrounds don’t have the same digital access as their middle class peers. This gap affects everyone, because assignments are limited to the digital resources that are available to everyone – impacting not only homework assignments but all the way up to district curriculum.  How can parents and educators can help families make better use of technology resources outside of the classroom? Take a look at what this paper from the Center for Early Learning at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation recommends, including connecting parents to the local library for digital services and hosting parent-teacher learning exchanges on the use of tech with young children.

Research Shows Spike in Children’s Media Use

Children younger than eight are more likely to have their own tablet device now than in 2011. These children are spending an average of 48 minutes on those devices (up from five minutes in 2011, according to an updated report from Common Sense Media). Findings also show this same increase across all income levels. What does this mean for parents? It is even more important to model good behavior when it comes to digital devices. That means putting your phone away at mealtime, turning screens off before bedtime, and talking about what kids are watching and playing.

Study Focuses On Socioeconomic Links To Kids' Screen Time

Children in lower-income families spend more time watching TV and using electronic devices than kids in more affluent homes, according to a report released recently from Common Sense Media. The nonprofit group followed the viewing habits of more than 1,400 children nationwide. Ages 8 and under found that less-affluent youngsters spend nearly three-and-a-half hours daily watching TV and using varied devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops and video game players. By comparison, kids in higher-income homes spend just under two hours on such activities. The offspring of better-educated parents also spend less time with media (1 hour, 37 minutes) compared with children of those with less education (2 hours, 50 minutes).

Bridging the Digital Divide

Is your local school district trying to find ways to bridge the digital divide and give all students access to education technology, both at home and in the classroom? The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has developed a free Digital Equity Action Toolkit that is full of ideas for finding cost effective solutions in new technologies. It is a great resource for those looking to address the question of equity.

What’s the Difference Between Taking a Test on the Computer or Using Paper and Pencil?

Despite evidence that students who have taken standardized exams on the computer tend to score worse than those who took the tests on paper, educational groups are pushing schools to do assessments online. There are definite advantages, such as quicker feedback on performance, the ability to cater to different kinds of learners through a variety media formats, and a faster assessment of data to help with and remediate student performance. What do parents need to know about getting kids ready to take tests online? Studies have shown that kids perform better when they have access to technology in and out of school, are required to use it for school assignments, and use technology in more powerful ways – including writing, manipulating data, creating projects and knowing how to type. Make sure your kids are using the computer for more than playing games, know how to use the basic functions of a word processor even at a third grade level, and start learning how to type when it is appropriate.

The Digital Divide : A Case Study

What side of the digital divide is your school on? Is it on the side where parents and teachers are asking to keep computer time to a minimum because students have plenty of digital time at home with their own devices? Or are you on the other side -  the kind of school where teachers and administrators are literally going dumpster diving to help kids get the equipment they desperately need to learn tech skills for the global economy they will be facing? Take a look at this article entitled Not All Towns are Created Equal, Digitally to learn more about the challenges a town like Greeley Colorado faces when sitting on the lower tier of the digital divide.

Virtual Classrooms Do Not Mean Equal Classrooms

Five years ago online classes were touted as a way to give disadvantaged students equal access to a quality education, but recent research from the Pew Research Center shows that the online learning model has not lived up to the hype. As an article in The Atlantic is titled, virtual classrooms can be as unequal as real ones. Two of the biggest barriers are a lack of digital skills and the lack of confidence in one’s own ability to find trustworthy information on the internet.

Blocking Sites on the Internet May Hurt Student Learning

A recent article from The Atlantic magazine site entitled How Internet Filtering

Too Many Families Under-Connected

A new survey has been released from the Joan Ganz

Job Seekers Using Social Media

Nearly two-thirds of job seekers are using social media when looking for jobs, according to a

Technology and Inequality

Technology is powerful and can do many things thought impossible not so long ago, but can it address inequality?

Smartphone Usage Up

It may not be surprising, but a