Efforts to bring high-speed internet to all classrooms in the country have been bolstered by advocacy groups and by President Obama’s ConnectEd initiative, but one critical area lags behind: the so-called “homework gap” caused by students’ lack of home internet access.
In a time when many schools have one-to-one initiatives in place that require students to use the internet to access digital resources and complete assignments at home, the homework gap is particularly frustrating.
Although most school districts don’t have solid plans in place to connect students with off-campus internet, some are creating plans to provide off-campus internet access for students. Roughly 5 million households with school-age children lack high-speed internet access, according to estimates.
A new resource from Kajeet could help address homework gap struggles. The guide is intended to help school leaders increase student success by shrinking the homework gap.
Next page: Strategies that could help your district beat the homework gap
“School-aged kids without broadband access at home are not only unable to complete their homework–they enter the job market with a serious handicap,” said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement included in the resource. “And that loss is more than individual. It’s a loss to the collective human capital and shared economic future that we need to address.”
“Many meritorious efforts are attempting to ensure that, while in school, children have equivalent opportunities to learn regardless of their socioeconomic status,” writes the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Chris Dede in the foreword. “However, if equivalent broadband access outside of school is not addressed, then teachers are hampered in using powerful forms of digital learning.”
Fifty percent of grades 6-12 students are online weekly to find resources for assignments and homework, and in addition, 30 percent of high school students are online every single day for schoolwork.
A Project Tomorrow survey cited in the Kajeet resource revealed that 46 percent of district technology leaders said digital equity is one of the most challenging issues they face.
The resource profiles a number of districts that are successfully providing home internet access to students, including Green Bay Area Public Schools in Wisconsin, Richland School District Two in South Carolina, and Michigan’s Detroit Public Schools.
Through strategies such as Advanced Placement blended learning, ESOL programs, prekindergarten preparation, a device check-out model, and a smart digital citizenship model, districts are helping connect students to much-needed internet.
Access the resource here to learn the details of each district’s plan.