Tool: Digital Equity Toolkit by CoSN

Personalized Learning

Tool: Digital Equity Toolkit by CoSN

Oct 28, 2017

Tool: Digital Equity Toolkit by CoSN

This article is part of the guide The Personalized Learning Toolkit.

The digital divide is being addressed with some degree of success as municipalities, governments, corporations and nonprofits mount efforts to increase digital bandwidth in public areas, including schools. But that access still misses many places—rural areas, urban pockets and many homes—and has created a “homework gap.” The gap shows itself as teachers assign homework via internet-sourced programs and work that requires outside research. For the millions of children not connected at home it is more difficult to succeed in school and beyond. CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) calls the homework gap the civil rights issue of the digital age.

To help educators grapple with the implications of this issue, CoSN has created a Digital Equity Action Toolkit. The kit explains the homework gap and the larger implications of inequitable bandwidth outside of school and describes four things (survey the digital issue, engage the community, ensure sustainability through community assets and consider novel solutions) school districts can do immediately to spur change.

The toolkit also details six key approaches that can be customized depending on each district’s situation. Approaches include getting the most out of existing school assets. Districts that have done that can add partnering with local businesses and thinking out-of-the-box on what those partnerships entail. The approaches could advance to repurposing the educational spectrum or creating a mesh network. The goal is to guide districts toward making intentional changes to close the homework gap and lead to digital equity.

The digital divide is being addressed with some degree of success as municipalities, governments, corporations and nonprofits mount efforts to increase digital bandwidth in public areas, including schools. But that access still misses many places—rural areas, urban pockets and many homes—and has created a “homework gap.” The gap shows itself as teachers assign homework via internet-sourced programs and work that requires outside research. For the millions of children not connected at home it is more difficult to succeed in school and beyond. CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) calls the homework gap the civil rights issue of the digital age.

To help educators grapple with the implications of this issue, CoSN has created a Digital Equity Action Toolkit. The kit explains the homework gap and the larger implications of inequitable bandwidth outside of school and describes four things (survey the digital issue, engage the community, ensure sustainability through community assets and consider novel solutions) school districts can do immediately to spur change.

The toolkit also details six key approaches that can be customized depending on each district’s situation. Approaches include getting the most out of existing school assets. Districts that have done that can add partnering with local businesses and thinking out-of-the-box on what those partnerships entail. The approaches could advance to repurposing the educational spectrum or creating a mesh network. The goal is to guide districts toward making intentional changes to close the homework gap and lead to digital equity.

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