Equity and technology in schools

How do you level the digital playing field?How do you even start taking on a task like that?

Equity has always been a thorny issue for schools to deal with, and adding technology to the mix has added a whole new layer of complications.

As more research emerges linking technology to student engagement and decreased drop-out rates, the stakes get higher, and the consequences for students with diminished access to technology grow more drastic.

So what can you do?

Read about it

Equity, in every area, is complicated and multi-dimensional, and if you’re doing it right, intersectional to boot. That means there are a lot of different viewpoints and external forces to take into consideration. Here are some background resources to get you started.



Some additional reading:

Talk about it

Talk with your fellow educators. Talk with administrators and parents. Talk with the school board. Keep the dialogue going.

I haven’t run across a specific twitter chat on equity, despite The Cybraryman’s exhaustive list of twitter chats and hashtags for education. Maybe we should start one.

Write about it

Check out what our guest posters have said so far about equity and schools:

Diana Gonzalez, blogging for the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education

Two fundamental components of access to technology are a fast, consistent internet connection and an appropriate device: Who in your classroom has internet at home?  Who has a device they can use at home?  What tech is in the classroom? What controls on student use exist?

–Diana Gonzalez, Digital Divide in the Classroom


Nick Tryling, blogging for the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education

The longer I teach the more I realize my obligation not to shy away from technology projects as some educators do, in well-intentioned hopes of keeping an even playing field. The indicators all point to the same conclusion: There is no even playing field.

–Nick Tryling, Engaging the Divide: on equity in the digital classroom


Alex Shevrin: Is extra credit an equity issue?

We assume that our students have completed their basic class expectations and can go the “extra mile,” rather than struggling to keep up due to learning disabilities, social, emotional or developmental special needs, or the pressures of daily life when you live in poverty. When we offer extra credit, we’re really offering it to students with access to resources: time, money, social capital, transportation, support systems.

–Alex Shevrin, Is extra credit an equity issue?


How do *you* deal with equity in the digital classroom?

If you’re an educator, administrator or parent interested in writing for us about the equity issues you see emerging with technology in schools, get in touch.


Audrey Homan

Audrey Homan is a Vermont-based digital media producer, and producer of The 21st Century Classroom podcast. She's worked in non-profit communications for more than a decade, and in her spare time writes tiny video games and mucks about with augmented reality and arduinos, ably assisted by five dogs. Interviewing students and yelling in PHP are the best parts of her job.

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