News

School leadership toolkit targets digital equity

By Laura Devaney, Director of News, @eSN_Laura
February 24th, 2016

digital-equity

CoSN’s new tools aim to solve ‘homework gap’ and help students benefit from digital learning

A new toolkit aims to improve digital equity in school systems across the nation by helping district leaders develop thoughtful and measured strategies to narrow the homework gap in their communities.

Launched by CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking), the Digital Equity Action Toolkit for district leaders was introduced through CoSN’s new Digital Equity Action Agenda leadership initiative.

The new leadership initiative and version 1.0 toolkit provides a historic contextual background of the issue, explains the “homework gap,” details broader implications of household connectivity, and lays out steps school districts can take to start closing the homework gap in their communities.

These steps include: survey the district’s connectivity and devices; engage the community; ensure sustainability through community assets; and consider outside-of-the-box solutions.

“Ensuring equitable access to technology inside and outside the classroom is the civil rights issue of today. Alarmingly, many lower-income families cannot stay connected to complete homework assignments, and parents are unable to track their child’s academic performance,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “School leaders must work with their communities to ensure digital equity and enable all students to benefit from learning that is increasingly delivered digitally.”

In addition, the toolkit presents six approaches that can help school districts improve their leadership and spark innovation in pursuing digital equity:
• Partner with local businesses on wi-fi access for learning
• Maximize the use of existing assets
• Seek mobile hotspot and/or affordable LTE programs
• Leverage special broadband offerings
• Repurpose educational spectrum
• Create a mesh network

“The CoSN Digital Equity Action Toolkit is the best and most practical document I have seen on this topic,” said Vista USD (Calif.) Superintendent Devin Vodicka.

The new initiative is the next step in CoSN’s digital equity leadership. In partnership with the National Title I Association, CoSN previously produced the school district-level guide, Rethinking Equity in a Digital Era: Forging a Strong Partnership Between District Title I and Technology. Since last fall, Krueger has written a series of blogs on digital equity challenges, models and partnerships.

The Digital Equity Action Agenda is made possible by Dell, Google Fiber, Kajeet, Qualcomm Education, Inc., as well as education leaders and experts nationwide. Our supporters have shared their efforts to advance this initiative and digital equity nationwide below.

To learn more about the new Digital Equity Action Agenda leadership initiative and toolkit, please visit: cosn.org/digital-equity.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Laura Devaney

Laura Devaney is the Director of News for eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura