Digital Access - Definition and Challenges
Digital Access entails ensuring that all students, regardless of socio-economic background or the location of their school, has equal access to digital resources. While students from affluent backgrounds who tend to be what enjoy this advantage, access to digital resources is more problematical for students from poorer socio-economic backgrounds with schools in impoverished districts, along with students struggling with disabilities. This webpage will explore the some of the problems associated with providing all students with digital access, and it will then explain how this class website will address this problem for its users.
The problem of providing digital access is a key issue for students with disabilities, along with those from impoverished socio-economic backgrounds or attending schools in less affluent districts. Many students with disabilities require special equipment, such as visual or electronic aids, to perform in class, and schools may lack the resources to pay for all of this equipment. Moreover, students from impoverished socio-economic backgrounds may not have access to digital technology at home, and the schools they attend may have similar problems. While digital devices in the form of cell phones with cameras, text messaging, and wireless connections to social media and websites have become less expensive and more affordable for students from less affluent backgrounds, the gap between students in affluent and poorer districts continues to linger. However, the growing availability of digital devices for impoverished students and improved access to wireless technology are enabling educators to close the "digital access" gap, and this webpage will list several strategies by which the class utilizing this website will hope to achieve this goal.
Digital Access - Strategies for Redressing this Problem
While providing equal access to digital services and resources has posed challenges in impoverished districts while proving problematical for students from impoverished backgrounds or struggling with disabilities, the school utilizing this website will utilize several strategies to get around this complication. These strategies will focus on students who have problems accessing digital resources outside of school, along with ensuring that students with disabilities have the support they need. These strategies will make progress in redressing the digital access gap between students from different backgrounds, and the include:
- Our school will seek to extend the after-school time in which library and computer lab will be open for students, along with making these facilities available on weekends. Several other faculty and I will be present during these times so that students may utilize school computers to access digital resources.
- We will also arrange extra-curricular times to allow students from impoverished backgrounds or struggling with disabilities to access school digital resources in the library and computer lab.
- The school will also consult with technology vendors and companies to make special arrangements for the purchase of equipment for students with disabilities so that they will be able to better participate in classes with other students.
- The school will allow students to bring their own digital devices, especially cell phones, to school. However, the need to balance rights with responsibilities means that students will have to agree to a set of rules which govern when and where, and how they can use cell phones and other digital devices.
- Some of these rules on use of digital devices were spelled out on the web pages discussing netiquette and copyright, plagiarism, and fair use. This website will further articulate the rules regarding digital devices on separate page concerning class room technology rules and technology use policy.
Sources Cited for Webpage
Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship - http://digitalcitizenship.net/Nine_Elements.html
Public Broadcasting Report on the Digital Divide - www.pbs.org/teachers/learning.now/digital_divide/
The Team at Educator Pages