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Addressing the Digital Divide

by Laura Devaney

eSchool News

Article excerpt

Digital equity bill targets ‘homework gap’

New legislation introduced in Congress would support “innovative strategies and methods to increase out-of-school access to digital learning resources” in an effort to boost both student and educator engagement. The Digital Learning Equity Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and co-sponsored by Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), would call for a national study on what is known as the “Homework Gap” and would support pilot programs to extend digital learning opportunities for students when they are not in the classroom.

Our take

New Bill Seeks to Close the Homework Gap

The Digital Learning Equity Act of 2015, recently introduced in Congress, is designed to help close the gap between technology haves and have nots. Providing digital access to economically and geographically challenged students, to support their ability to do homework outside of the classroom, is likely to produce better learning outcomes. There’s definitely a digital divide in some areas of the country and within some economic sectors; how might this new bill impact your ability to close the gap with your students?

A Pew Research Center study referenced in this article indicates that while 70 percent of teachers assign out-of-the-classroom homework requiring online access, one-third of students do not have such access. Allowing students the ability to connect outside of the classroom to complete their assignments is an obvious benefit of expanding access; the ability to engage the family in the education process through technology is another.

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