Access to the Internet is Access to Empowerment
The use of technology in the classroom has come a long from the projector with transparencies that I am used to. Schools are now providing classes with iPads, Smart Boards, computers, and so much more. A new trend in schools is to allow students to bring and use their own device. The issue arises when you encounter a child from a low income family who doesn’t have their own device or have access to any kind of device at home.
From the video BYOD to Bridge the Digital Divide teachers in schools of high to moderate families reported having good technology available and majority of students bring their own device. On the other hand, teachers at low income schools report a very low amount of students who bring their own device and the availability of technology is low. In a recent study it was concluded that when minority students were provided with a device and access to the internet their test scores improved by 10%. The students reported feeling a better connection to their teacher and they felt they were able to access all kinds of background information.
From the information provided in Michael Mills’ video it is apparent that we need to include bring your own device rules to all school as well as provide devices for those who do not have their own. Including these technological devices can aide in closing the digital divide between those of higher incomes and lower incomes.
3 STEPS TO CLOSING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
- Allow access to the internet and to devices.
- Allow the use of their own devices.
- Redefine academic productivity.
The access to the internet and other technological tools builds connective learning that is the basis behind how so many students in this day and age learn. All students need access to the best tools. The job of the teacher is to provide supervision during this use but also allow students to explore on their own. Overall the goal is for the students to be at least as productive as they would be in a normal classroom but through the use of technology. Students will not be the best they can be without the access to the best.