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Limited Access: A Speed Bump for Ed Tech

by Karen Johnson

EdSurge

Article excerpt

For Internet Access, Hop on the Bus—and Discover What Really Prevents Teachers from Using Digital Tools

When we asked teachers to identify the biggest barriers to using digital resources, their students’ lack of Internet access outside the classroom topped the list. As many as 5 million U.S. households with school-aged children don’t have Internet access, according to a recent Pew Research Center study.

Our take

Teachers Can’t Effectively Use Technology, if Students Have Limited Access

A 2015 survey, Teachers Know Best: What Teachers Want from Digital Instructional Tools 2.0, identifies a barrier that is rapidly coming to light in school systems around the nation—student access to technology outside of the classroom. In fact, in this survey, 42 pecent of the teachers indicated that they aren’t using technology in their classrooms because “my students do not have sufficient access to technology outside of the classroom.” It’s not that teachers don’t want to use technology, it’s that they recognize the disparities among students and feel challenged in addressing those disparities. What are the barriers that exist in your school system and how are you addressing them?

The ability to fully utilize technology in education is reliant not only on school systems’ abilities to provide the right tools, training and access, but students’ outside-of-school access both to technology tools and Internet access. The disparities that exist challenge teachers’ abilities to fully leverage digital resources. If you don’t know what access barriers might exist for your students, it may be worth conducting an assessment to determine what issues might exist as a starting point for closing these gaps.

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