Equitable Digital Access
To ensure equitable access in the classroom, a teacher should establish a rotation schedule for the devices in the classroom. If there is a computer lab in the school, establish a grade level rotation schedule and then a sub-schedule for the classrooms in each grade level. Prepare to be flexible because ...'things happen'.
Some schools allow students to bring their own devices. This sometimes allows students Internet access without using their data. This approach may limit the amount of control schools have over the students' devices.
If all students have access to devices and they have access to the Internet at school, it is also necessary to consider whether the students have access to the Internet at home. If not, what options are they given to complete assignments that require Internet access.
Ms. DiMarco, in her article, 6 Ways To Support Students Without Internet Access At Home, provides possible ways to help students who have no or limited access to the Internet.
Let's not forget that equitable access also includes the availability of adaptive technology. Does a student's success depend on being able to hear instruction well? Is it reasonable to think that a teacher will always stand in front of one student while teaching. Of course not. In such cases, access to a voice amplifier would probably help all students. Students that stuggle with visual or physical impairments will benefit from text to speech or dictation features.
Teachers need to know what our students think they know about digital access. What do they know about digital citizenship? Students must be taught how to use the devices, both literally and socially? With access comes responsibility.
According to Mr. Wolohan, a Math and Science teacher in Oklahoma, there is more to equitable digital access than having a device or simply access to the Internet. Listed below are additional things to consider when providing equitable access.
1. Start with the basics—research your student and their families, and respond accordingly 2. Be proactive in creating lessons and assignments, thoughtfully 3. Put extra effort towards pushing digital literacy 4. Provide extra opportunities for technology and internet access 5. Advocate for more resources in your district or school
Students at computer clipart. Retrieved from http://laoblogger.com/kids-computer-lab-clipart-free.html
DiMarco, M. W.. (2017, June 10 ). 6 Ways To Support Students Without Internet Access At Home Retrieved from https://www.teachthought.com/technology/6-ways-support-students-without-internet-access-home/
Wolohan, S. (2016, April 13). How Teachers Can Provide Equal Learning in a World of Unequal Access. EdSurge. Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-04-13-how-teachers-can-provide-equal-learning-in-a-world-of-unequal-access
Laptop computer to search the world wide web. Retrieved from http://laoblogger.com/image-post/91678-computer-internet-clipart-7.jpg.html